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Ken Paxton, Republican Nominee for Attorney General, Could Be Stripped of Nomination

by: Joseph Vogas

Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

Republican Sen. Ken Paxton: Do not pass go, do not collect $200
In May, State Senator Ken Paxton, who is the Republican nominee for Attorney General, admitted he violated state securities laws.

Paxton has already paid a fine for acting as the unregistered representative of an investment adviser. In May, when the violations came to light, Sen. Paxton was merely a candidate for Texas Attorney General, however, the Republican runoff is now in the past and Paxton is the nominee. Now, other, establishment Republicans are beginning to get nervous of what Paxton's nomination could mean.

In an e-mail, progressive ally The Lone Star Project has learned Republicans inside the Texas capitol may be urging the Travis County District Attorney, an office that also runs Texas' Public Integrity Unit, to move quickly to prosecute Ken Paxton.

But why would Texas Republicans be working to remove one of their own from the ballot?

Read below the fold to learn why Paxton's continued nomination could be toxic to the entire Republican ticket and lead to their forfeit in the race for Texas Attorney General.

The Lone Star Project writes:
"It is only a matter of time before Ken Paxton is prosecuted of felony securities fraud and, (if convicted), would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison (Tex. Penal Code Sec. 12.34).

More importantly, under Texas law, a convicted felon is ineligible to serve as attorney general (Tex. Elec. Code Sec. 141.001 (a)(4))."

As things stand currently, it is only a matter of time before The Travis County District Attorney officially brings charges against Senator Paxton. Should he be convicted, he will not be able to serve as Texas Attorney General, and if elected before the conviction, Paxton would be stripped of the office.

The Lone Star Project writes: "If Paxton is prosecuted and convicted before the election, Republicans could replace him on the November ballot with a simple vote by the State Republican Party Executive Committee."

However, if the Travis County District Attorney does not convict Sen. Paxton until much later in the year, but before the November election, Paxton would likely be removed from the ballot, leaving the election to be contested only between Democrat Sam Houston and third party candidates.

The Travis County District Attorney would likely need the Texas State Securities Board investigative file on Paxton in order to move forward with a prosecution. If The Lone Star Project is able to uncover documents that show establishment Republicans are urging the Travis County District Attorney to obtain that file would make it clear that an inside effort to get rid of Paxton is underway.

Ken Paxton was nominated mainly by members of the Texas TEA Party who supported his more conservative, red-meat stances and largely chose to only hear he was endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz. State Rep. Dan Branch's campaign tried to warn other Texas Republicans in the runoff that Sen. Paxton's nomination could only mean trouble for Republicans in the future.

Senator Paxton must now decide if he wants to avoid a scandal that will hover over the Texas Attorney General race through and possibly after November or if he would like to give the Texas Republican Party the opportunity to nominate a candidate who would likely not be convicted of a crime and removed from office.

Some  establishment Texas Republicans know which option they would prefer.

You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.

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What's the alternative? (0.00 / 0)
Your article argues, "Senator Paxton must now decide..."

Must now decide what? If I'm reading the Texas Election Code correctly, a party may only replace a candidate if he/she dies, is declared ineligible, or has a serious illness. So, if he decided to withdraw, the democrat Sam Houston wins by default.


Please clarify: Am I wrong there?

It is my understanding ... (0.00 / 0)
From LSP and the article: "If Paxton is prosecuted and convicted before the election, Republicans could replace him on the November ballot with a simple vote by the State Republican Party Executive Committee."

I believe, before the trial, he may remove himself from nomination now, allowing the SREC to vote on a new candidate ASAP, however, he is unlikely to do this, so they are pursuing a quick trial instead to allow the vote.

I may be misreading it, but that is my understanding.

[ Parent ]
I care what the law says, not the article. (0.00 / 0)
Yes, I understand that's what the article implies. I'm asking about THE LAW. According to the Texas Election Code, linked above, a candidate can't just withdraw and let his party select another nominee. The only exceptions are if he's disqualified, dies or has a grave illness (with signed affidavits from multiple physicians).

Obviously, if Paxton was convicted in the next 4 months, that would disqualify him, and afford the GOP the opportunity to appoint another candidate. But unless he pleads guilty, I can't imagine justice will be that swift!

So, again, what decision is the article's author implying that Paxton must make?

[ Parent ]
The author (me) (0.00 / 0)
Is saying Paxton should withdraw his nomination. This may include withdrawing by admitting guilt and allowing the Republican Party to replace him now or he could withdraw and allow another candidate to run as a write in.

[ Parent ]
Texas Election Code Title 9 Ch 145 Sub A (0.00 / 0)
"Sec. 145.036.  FILLING VACANCY IN NOMINATION.  (b)  An executive committee may make a replacement nomination following a withdrawal ONLY IF the candidate withdraws because of a catastrophic illness that was diagnosed after the 62nd day before general primary election day and the illness would permanently and continuously incapacitate the candidate and prevent the candidate from performing the duties of the office sought; and
files with the withdrawal request a certificate describing the illness and signed by at least two licensed physicians;"

[ Parent ]
Removal from ballot (5.00 / 1)
Paxton has no option to get off the ballot himself unless he moves out of state and cancels his voter registration.  Or dies. Or is convicted of a felony.  He can't "withdraw".  He has to become ineligble.

And any of those options have to happen in enough time for the State Executive Committee to put someone else on the ballot before Aug 25th.

Failing the above, he is on their ballot.  Indicted he might be.  But only if he walks in and pleads guilty to a felony, there's no way an indictment and trial will happen in two months or less.

[ Parent ]
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