Texas Attorney General GOP Primary Odds: Can Another George Bush Win As Longshot?

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on November 29, 2021

One of the most interesting races in 2022 that will otherwise go under the radar is the battle for the Attorney Generalship of Texas, and Texas Attorney General odds may present value.

The race is intriguing given the overwhelmingly likelihood that incumbent GOP Governor Greg Abbott will be serving his final term after 2022 (or he could even in theory lose in 2022, although that’s unlikely).

The A.G. role is both powerful in its own right, but it has also served as a launching pad for higher ambitions, with one of the state’s two Senators and Abbott both having served in the role before their eventual promotions. It is also of note this time because of the personalities in play.

Who will win the 2022 Texas Republican attorney general nomination?

CandidateNov. 29, 2021 PriceEquivalent Odds
Ken Paxton$0.53-113
Louis Gohmert$0.29+245
George P. Bush$0.17+488
Eva Guzman$0.06+1567
Matt Krause$0.01+9900

Analysis of 2022 Texas Attorney General Odds

Ken Paxton

The current incumbent, Ken Paxton, has the ignominious distinction of being both under indictment for securities fraud and being investigated for various other abuses of his position.

He is a right-wing firebrand who filed the unsuccessful Texas v Pennsylvania to try and overturn the 2020 election result in Pennsylvania, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the basis that Texas can’t sue another state over how they applied their own laws regarding the conduct of their election.

Paxton received the endorsement of the former President of the United States earlier this year, and the fact that Texas GOP primary voters are much more likely to believe the lies about the 2020 Election than the average Texas GOP voter – let alone the average Texan – means that part of his record is a political positive.

Paxton was long-considered the favorite from the moment he got the Trump endorsement, with that being widely seen as a death blow to his opponent’s chances of securing a primary victory.

Additionally, the fact that the 2015 securities indictment is still unresolved – and appears highly likely to remain so through primary day – helps him, as does the fact that securities fraud is one of the most boring political scandals one can create.

That said, the idea he is a favorite went away this week with the announcement of a third candidate in the race.

Louie Gohmert

Gohmert is one of the most conservative members of the US House of Representatives, a man who helped lead high profile fights during the Obama Presidency against both Obama and his own party.

To properly list all of the insane things Gohmert has said over the years would take too long, but he once approvingly quoted an article that compared Barack Obama to Hitler and said the storming of the Capitol on January 6th was a conspiracy from Democrats, despite him saying “you gotta go to the streets” on January 2nd.

Gohmert is often dismissed as a crank, but the problem for Texas Republicans is he is speaking to a base – and the problem for the Paxton campaign is they’re both speaking to the same base. Gohmert and Paxton would be basically equivalent in terms of doing the job as AG, but Gohmert wants to replace Paxton because of his baggage.

Could it work? Easily. The increasingly Democratic tilt of the state has meant that the GOP primary electorate has lost a lot of old money social liberals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and around Austin, and that means it is easier for the right-wing fringe to win these nominations. That said, the existence of two hard core conservatives has opened the door for the third candidate to rise again.

George P. Bush

The current Texas Land Commissioner, the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew of the former Texas Governor and President of the United States, George P Bush was widely dismissed after his courtship of Trump ended with the Paxton endorsement.

The people who love the Bush family – especially those who live in the suburbs of Dallas – now vote for Democrats in large numbers, meaning what was possible even 6 years ago in terms of primary performance might not be possible now.

Places like Southlake, a small mid-city between Dallas and Fort Worth, are instructive here – Southlake is one of the richest ZIP codes in America, and it is trending towards Democrats hugely. Most of the voters who are moving left are rich professionals with good memories of the Bush family, but who have left the GOP over Trump and social issues.

If Bush is going to have a chance, he needs Gohmert and Paxton to split the right-wing vote, and for the lack of competitive Democratic primary statewide to drive some of those Biden-supporting social liberals to vote in the GOP primary, and therefore support him.

If Paxton and Gohmert do split the vote, the path for Bush exists, especially if the Bush political machine kicks into gear. If he can get his Uncle to actively support him, to stump for him in the leadup to the primary, he has a fighting chance, which he didn’t before Gohmert got in the race.

2022 Texas Attorney General Odds Conclusions

Bush is live, but he probably won’t win. I wouldn’t suggest he is a great buy at 18 cents, but he’s not out of it. Gohmert, though, should be the favorite.

Paxton’s a wounded candidate, as the fact that both Gohmert and Bush are giving up other jobs to challenge him shows. Gohmert has sinecure in his House seat, and he could have presumably waited out Abbott’s retirement from DC if he wants to be the next Governor, but he announced.

Attorneys General who are in good shape politically don’t attract two primary challengers of this level of distinction. He was going to beat Bush before Gohmert came into the race because he had the Trump endorsement, but now that Gohmert’s in the race, the election denialism wing of the GOP has a better vehicle for their delusions.

Paxton is an outrageous price at this point and is likelier to come in third than first by the time polling day comes around. Gohmert should be easily be favored, and he is easily likelier to win the primary than the field combined. It’s rare you get a 26 cent price on someone who should be north of 50, but this is one of those times.

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