In the coming weeks, Texas voters will decide who will be the state’s legal counsel as Attorney General.
Appropriately, the GOP’s candidate is a Tea Party favorite who doesn’t seem to be very familiar with the concept of following the law at all. Ken Paxton has a track record of cover-ups, violating state law, and a potential felony charge waiting for him when the election is over.
So it’s no surprise that every major newspaper in Texas has endorsed Sam Houston, an experienced attorney who ran for the Texas Supreme Court in 2008. The Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Dallas Morning News, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Austin American-Statesman, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram all agree that Democrat Sam Houston has the integrity and experience necessary to turn the Attorney General’s Office around.
According to the Houston Chronicle,
- Democratic candidate Sam Houston is the best choice on the ballot. A graduate of Baylor Law School and candidate for Texas Supreme Court in 2008, Houston is more than just a famous name (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). Houston, 51, is board certified in civil trial advocacy and has 26 years experience as a Houston-based litigator, practicing civil law at the state and federal level. With executive experience managing his law firm, Houston will bring the attitude of an attorney over that of a politician.
- Meeting with the Houston Chronicle editorial board, Houston said that he would rely more on mediation than politically charged proactive lawsuits. That strategy may not make headlines, but it stands to save taxpayer dollars while getting good results for Texas.
- This balanced, professional attitude should help win over some traditionally Republican voters, who find themselves with a troubling candidate.
- State Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, puts forth the persona of a Sunday school teacher but has a history of lawbreaking and questionable business practices that should disqualify him in the minds of Texans….
- Paxton has routinely refused to meet with journalists, political groups and media outlets to answer questions about his history of shady – and illegal – practices. He has cancelled meetings with everyone from tea party groups to this newspaper, hiding from the very people he will be charged with defending.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times agrees, noting that “Houston would focus the office of attorney general more forcefully upon its core functions—enforcing consumer protection laws, collecting child support, issuing open-records opinions — and less on suing the federal government at Texas taxpayer expense.”
They added, “Republican Ken Paxton should be disqualified from consideration because his compromised ethics are a matter of record.”
The San Antonio Express-News said:
- We strongly urge Texans to elect Democrat Sam Houston, a native of Colorado City who has practiced law in Houston for 26 years…. Whether the issue results in a criminal investigation or not, the case raises disturbing ethical questions about Paxton. We believe voters should take this blemish on Paxton’s record seriously as they consider who should be the state’s top lawyer.
In an enthusiastic endorsement, the Austin American-Statesman wrote, “Houston is clear about the direction that he would take the attorney general’s office, returning its focus to legal matters of the state rather than tilting at windmills by filing lawsuits against federal government agencies.”
According to the Statesman, “troubling reports of [Paxton’s] ethics violations” make him a questionable candidate, but “it would be difficult to endorse Paxton” even if he weren’t a law-breaking crook.
It should be telling that Empower Texans, a conservative organization that has supported Ken Paxton to the tune of $375,000, could also be facing federal charges after lying to the IRS about its 2012 political activity.
Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.