Commentary: Reagan Reed
Texas who were not thrilled about having to choose between Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his primary challenger Land Commissioner George P. Bush now have a third choice to consider in the 2022 Republican primary. On Monday, Eva Guzman, who resigned from the Texas Supreme Court last week, filed the paperwork to run for Attorney General.
The incumbent, Paxton, is considered vulnerable in the wake of staff resignations, whistleblowers, a state bar investigation, and a 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges that stubbornly refuses to go away. Paxton received the lowest percentage of any statewide Republican running for re-election in the 2018 general election, and there are concerns in GOP circles that he could lose the 2022 election to a Democrat.
For the state’s ambitious Land Commissioner, Paxton’s troubles presented an opportunity to finally move up the ladder. However, Bush carries his own baggage, particularly surrounding his handling of The Alamo and plans to “reimagine” the hallowed site. And to say that the Bush family has fallen somewhat out of favor in today’s Republican Party would be an understatement- a drawback the younger Bush has attempted to overcome by obsequiously sucking up to the 45th President. His legal resume is also fairly short.
Enter Guzman, who’s candidacy changes the dynamics of what was already an interesting race. The former justice is a serious candidate who merits consideration by those wanting an alternative to Paxton and Bush.
Raised in Houston, Guzman is the daughter of immigrants. She currently resides in Cypress with her husband, retired HPD Sergeant Antonio Ray “Tony” Guzman. They have one daughter.
Guzman has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, a J.D. from South Texas College of Law, and an LL.M. from Duke University School of Law. Prior to being appointed to the states highest civil court, she was a family district court judge and then a judge of the 14th Court of Appeals.
Guzman was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 2009 by then-governor Rick Perry. She was the first Latina to serve on the court. The Hispanic National Bar Association has named her “Latina Judge of the Year” and she was awarded “2009 Judge of the Year” by the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation. She has been re-elected with wide margins both in the primary and the general.
In addition to being an accomplished jurist, Guzman has a record of conservative votes and opinions on the state’s high court. If history is any indicator, her time on the Supreme Court may position her well to become Attorney General.
Both Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) held the Attorney General spot at one point in their careers. Both men had also served on the Texas Supreme Court prior to becoming Attorney General.
The Office of the Attorney General is an important agency that impacts the lives of millions of Texans, not a platform for political theater or self-aggrandizement. Texans deserve an Attorney General who is above reproach, has excellent legal credentials, and is willing to devote themselves 100% to the nuts and bolts of the job.
While it is still very early in the primary season, it will be interesting to see how the Attorney General race unfolds. Hopefully Guzman will run on her own merits as a mature adult and serious legal scholar who will make the case for the conservative legal tradition.