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Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race

Bush, whose family has roots in the state and the Republican Party, had been angling for Trump's backing.
Image: Donald Trump, Ken Paxton
Then-President Donald Trump waves upon arrival alongside Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in Dallas on June 11, 2020.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images file

Former President Donald Trump on Monday threw his support behind Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who is being challenged for re-election in a primary by George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"Ken has my Complete and Total Endorsement for another term as Attorney General of Texas. He is a true Texan who will keep Texas safe — and will never let you down!" Trump said in a statement.

The endorsement could be a boon for Paxton as Trump continues to enjoy support in the Republican Party. Bush, whose family has roots in the state and the Republican Party, had been angling for Trump's backing, and his entry into the race will make it one of the most anticipated, and analyzed, state-level races of the election cycle.

Paxton is one of the most pro-Trump state officials in the country. He filed a lawsuit, which the Supreme Court declined to hear, challenging Trump's loss in 2020.

Bush appears to be betting that Paxton's mounting legal woes may have political consequences with voters. Paxton faces trial over allegations of securities fraud and allegations that he abused his office, accusations that have prompted Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, to call on him to resign.

Shortly after Trump's endorsement, Bush tweeted that Texans deserve an attorney general without legal problems.

"I'm running for Attorney General because Texans deserve integrity and honesty from the office of Texas' top law enforcement official. Texans deserve a candidate without a laundry list of existing and potential criminal indictments," Bush said.

Bush had been trying to win Trump's endorsement despite Trump's past public spats with his family, and Trump had responded warmly. Bush has tweeted about his support for Trump and his campaign distributed koozies, or can coolers, quoting Trump saying: "This is the only Bush that likes me. This is the Bush that got it right. I like him."

However, during the 2016 campaign, Trump retweeted an attack on Bush's mother. In addition, former President George W. Bush criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol and Trump, in turn, attacked Bush.