Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s headaches just got worse with the announcement that State Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) will be challenging him in the 2022 Republican Primary.
Krause joins a crowded field of high-profile state politicians hoping to unseat the incumbent Paxton, who’s personal legal troubles are widely thought to make him vulnerable. Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman are also challenging Paxton in the primary.
Like Paxton, Krause hails from the most conservative wing of the party. In fact, he may be even more conservative than the incumbent. Krause is a member of the Texas House Freedom Caucus and has one of the most conservative voting records in the lower chamber.
However, Krause believes that Paxton’s many scandals make him vulnerable in a general election, and could allow the Democrats to take the critical position. Democrat Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney, raised more campaign donations than any candidate from either party during the last fundraising period.
Krause is not sure that Bush or Guzman have the grassroots bona fides to defeat Paxton in a primary election. He is presenting himself as someone who would be just as conservative as Paxton, but without the incumbent’s baggage.
Paxton is still dealing with a 2015 indictment for allegations of securities fraud. He had also had several senior staff members resign in protest for other allegations of corruption- allegations Paxton vehemently denies.
Krause’s entrance into the race increases the likelihood no candidate will get over 50% of the vote in the primary, meaning the top two vote getters would advance to a runoff- a dangerous place for an incumbent.