George P. Bush, the last remaining member of his famous family to hold elected office, lost his bid for Texas attorney general Tuesday night.
Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has served in the role since 2015, defeated Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush. In March, Bush had forced Paxton into a runoff after neither candidate cleared 50% of the vote in an earlier primary.
Bush is currently Texas’ land commissioner, a powerful position he will soon be leaving. He ran as a conservative reformer against Paxton, who had been dealing with a litany of scandals, including an FBI investigation stemming from bribery and abuse-of-office allegations. Bush also attacked Paxton for an extramarital affair allegedly tied to that bribery investigation.
Paxton, meanwhile, made a name for himself as a hard-right culture warrior, regularly appearing on Fox News and issuing an argument this year equating gender-confirming treatments for transgender children with child abuse. In response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas earlier Tuesday, said that arming teachers was the “best hope” of stopping school shootings.
Paxton also had the support of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed him early in the race. “It is going to take a PATRIOT like Ken Paxton to advance America First policies in order to Make America Great Again…He is a true Texan who will keep Texas safe—and will never let you down!” Trump said in a statement last July.
Both candidates invoked Bush’s family. Paxton called on supporters to “Help me end the Bush Dynasty” and referenced Jeb Bush’s unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. And while Bush said he was “proud” of his family, he also said in a late TV ad that this race “was not about my last name — it’s about Ken Paxton’s crimes.”
Bush was criticized for his role in the restoration of the Alamo memorial, which he oversaw as Texas land commissioner. A prior land commissioner accused him of “glaring screwups,” and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has cited his “lousy management.” Much of the pushback was related to Bush’s attempt to move a 60-foot monument known as the Spirit of Sacrifice, which Paxton criticized as a “woke plan” from the “liberal land commissioner” in an ad earlier this year.
Paxton is expected to be a heavy favorite to retain his seat against the winner of Tuesday evening’s Democratic runoff between Rochelle Garza and Joe Jaworski.