This has been a bad month for State Senator Ken Paxton. The Republican from McKinney, who is currently running for Attorney General has faced a series of problems as questionable behavior from his past have come to light.
First, there were his improper financial disclosure issues, which led to a $1000 fine from the Texas Ethics Commission. Then there was the exposure of his years of voting on state contracts for his own businesses while he was in the Legislature, which is a violation of the Texas Constitution.
Paxton has been largely MIA since the issues began, hoping that hiding from the public eye and letting his Ted Cruz-narrated ads do the talking will be enough to get him through the run-off race.
Despite this, many around the state are starting to take notice. Paxton has started to lose key endorsements, and his opponent Dan Branch has released a new ad featuring a man who sued Paxton for the faulty business deal that led to his TEC fine.
Last week, Ken Paxton lost the endorsement of the his hometown police association. In a letter, the McKinney Police Association stated, “Given that the attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer in the state of Texas, the McKinney Police Association feels it is necessary to protect the integrity of the AG office and can no longer support Ken Paxton.”
Paxton has also lost the endorsement of the Allen Police Association, which is in his state Senate district. The Allen Police Association voiced similar concerns with supporting a man to be in charge of law enforcement who has a history of breaking the law himself.
Ken Paxton's Republican opponent, Dallas State Rep. Dan Branch, has been doing his part to make voters aware of Paxton's past illegal behavior. He has released two new ads this month that focus on Paxton's questionable history. One, called “Ken Paxton Broke the Law,” features a news report detailing the Texas Ethics Commission fine Paxton faced for his disclosure issues. Another, called “Ken Got His,” features the plaintiff in a suit against Paxton for the shady business deals that prompted the TEC fine:
Paxton has also released a new ad, calling Dan Branch a liberal who supports illegal immigrants and abortion. The ad also prominently features Ken Paxton's number one supporter Ted Cruz.
Ken Paxton running to be the top lawyer in the state, yet has a history of violating the Texas Constitution. Whether the violations were out of ignorance or just disregard for the law, either one should disqualify him from being voted in to the top legal position in the state.
But evidently, Ken Paxton thinks that turning up the Tea Party rhetoric and blasting images of himself with Ted Cruz will be enough to make voters forget about his ethics problems. Unfortunately for Texans, given the history of voter turnout in run-off elections (and the people who choose to show up to a Republican run-off), Paxton's strategy just might work. After all, Republican run-off voters are the ones who chose Ted Cruz in the first place.