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'Publicity stunt': Battleground state AGs blast Texas counterpart for asking Supreme Court to undo Biden's win

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants the Supreme Court to invalidate election results in 4 states, citing repeatedly debunked allegations.
Image: FILE PHOTO: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton addresses reporters on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton addresses reporters on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 2, 2016, in Washington.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters file

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday he's seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court invalidate election results in four battleground states won by Joe Biden — a challenge that officials in those states ripped as "a publicity stunt" loaded with "false and irresponsible" allegations.

Paxton, a Republican, wants the court to allow him to file a motion challenging the results in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and have the court order their state legislatures, instead of the voters, to decide their state's electors.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, called Paxton's motion "a publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading."

"The Michigan issues raised in this complaint have already been thoroughly litigated and roundly rejected in both state and federal courts — by judges appointed from both political parties," Nessel said. "Mr. Paxton’s actions are beneath the dignity of the office of attorney general and the people of the great state of Texas."

She also took aim at Paxton's argument that the results in those states have shaken voters' faith in democracy.

"The erosion of confidence in our democratic system isn’t attributable to the good people of Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia or Pennsylvania but rather to partisan officials, like Mr. Paxton, who place loyalty to a person over loyalty to their country," Nessel said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said, “I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit.” Kaul, a Democrat, added that “the Wisconsin Department of Justice will defend against this attack on our democracy.”

Nessel and Kaul later issued a joint statement with Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general, Josh Shapiro, that called Paxton's effort "insignificant."

"It’s well past time for the president and our fellow states and elected officials to stop misleading the public about this year’s election and to acknowledge that the results certified in our states reflect the decisions made by the voters in a free, fair, and secure election,” their statement said.

Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs called the allegations in Paxton's suit "false and irresponsible."

“Texas alleges that there are 80,000 forged signatures on absentee ballots in Georgia, but they don’t bring forward a single person who this happened to. That’s because it didn’t happen," Fuchs, who ran the Republican secretary of state's campaign for that job, said.

Katie Byrd, a spokeswoman for Georgia's Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, was even more succinct, saying that Paxton "is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia.”

Paxton, a longtime Trump loyalist, said in a press release that the "four states exploited the Covid-19 pandemic" and "flooded their people with unlawful ballot applications and ballots while ignoring statutory requirements as to how they were received, evaluated and counted."

The allegations in the complaint he's asking permission to file include many claims that have already been litigated unsuccessfully in state and federal courts in those states and debunked by fact checkers.

Paxton, whom the Trump campaign named a co-chair of its "Lawyers for Trump" group in July, has had legal problems of his own. He was indicted in 2015 on still-pending securities fraud charges and was reportedly accused of other wrongdoing by his top aides earlier this year.

Shaquille Brewster, Nadine Comerford and Priscilla Thompson contributed.