The Democratic and Republican primary elections for Texas Attorney General will take place March 1, 2022, with early voting beginning February 14, 2022. There are four Republican candidates and five Democratic candidates each seeking to be their party's nominee for the general election in the fall.
Incumbent Ken Paxton faces multiple challengers this cycle after running unopposed in the GOP primary four years ago. Paxton had the narrowest margin of victory four years ago of any GOP statewide candidate in the general election, winning by 3.56 percent. He remains under indictment and also is facing a separate FBI investigation. He proclaims his innocence in both.
Runoffs are possible in both primaries since the candidate fields are so large.
George P. Bush
Current office: Land Commissioner of Texas
Education: Rice University (bachelors), University of Texas (law school)
Biography: Son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush. Served in U.S. Navy Reserve from 2007-2017. Worked in corporate and securities law and at a real estate private equity firm. He also founded an energy investment firm in Fort Worth.
Political history: Elected Texas Land Commissioner in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.
Notable endorsements: James Baker (White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of State for Pres. George H.W. Bush), U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth), Reid Ryan (son of baseball legend Nolan Ryan)
In the news: Bush’s most notable controversy involved the Texas General Land Officer’s takeover of management of the Alamo. The GLO took control away from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. He’s also faced criticism over renovations to the historic site and an attempt to move the Cenotaph.
Important issues: Transparency of attorney general’s office, border security
Current office: U.S. Representative – Texas 1st Congressional District
Education: Texas A&M University (bachelors), Baylor University (law school)
Biography: Gohmert spent four years, 1978-1982, in the U.S. Army, most of it in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. He also worked in private practice as an attorney.
Political history: He was elected in 1992 as a judge in Texas' 7th judicial district. In 2003, then-Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to the Texas Twelfth District Court of Appeals. He ran for congress in 2004, winning the seat he still holds in Texas’ 1st Congressional District.
Notable endorsements: Texas Rep. Matt Krause (R – Fort Worth)
In the news: Claimed in 2010 that terrorists would send women to give birth to "terror babies" in U.S. Signed onto brief in support of Supreme Court case contesting 2020 election results. Sued Vice President Mike Pence in effort to overturn 2020 election results. Has been toughest critic on campaign trail of Paxton and his legal woes. Also claims Trump wouldn’t have endorsed Paxton if he knew there would be other challengers.
Important issues: Paxton’s legal troubles, election integrity, border security
Current office: None
Education: University of Houston (bachelors), South Texas College of Law (law school - JD), Duke University (law school - LLM)
Biography: Born in Chicago, raised in Houston. One of seven children born to parents who immigrated from Mexico. Spent time working in private practice as attorney and was an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
Political history: Appointed to Harris County Family Court by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 1999. Was appointed to Texas Fourteenth District Court of Appeals by then-Gov. Rick Perry in 2001. She was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 2009, the first Hispanic woman to serve on that court, and was re-elected twice by voters. She resigned in 2021 to run for attorney general.
Notable endorsements: Thomas Phillips (Former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court)
In the news: Guzman has spent most of her warchest on television commercials to introduce herself to primary voters. She has criticized Paxton’s legal expertise and some of his failed lawsuits against the federal government and Bush for letting his law license be inactive for a decade.
Important issues: Border security, federal "overreach"
Current office: Texas Attorney General
Education: Baylor University (bachelors), University of Virginia (law school)
Biography: Paxton was born in North Dakota and moved frequently because his father was in the Air Force. His eye was damaged at 12 in a game of hide-and-seek. He worked at a legal firm and as in-house counsel for J.C. Penney.
Political history: Was elected to Texas House in 2002 and represented District 70 in Collin County for a decade. Elected to Texas Senate in 2012. Won 2014 election for Attorney General and narrowly re-elected in 2018.
Notable endorsements: former President Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dana Loesch (conservative commentator)
In the news: Has been under indictment since 2015 on Texas securities fraud charges, but trial has not taken place and he’s pleaded not guilty. Was accused of bribery and abuse of office in October 2020 by multiple assistants in attorney general’s office and FBI has opened investigation. Paxton has denied wrongdoing. Paxton filed an ultimately unsuccessful Supreme Court case in attempt to contest 2020 presidential election results in multiple states. He also spoke at rally that took place before the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.
Important issues: Voter fraud, federal "overreach"
Current job: Attorney
Education: Texas State University (bachelors), St. Mary’s University (law school)
Biography: Born in Austin. Served in the U.S. Army from 1985-1993. Worked in private practice.
Political history: Assistant District Attorney for Harris County District Attorney's Office, Assistant General for the Texas Attorney General's Office. Was elected for two decades as a Republican in Harris County's Criminal Court at Law, No. 14, but lost his seat in 2018 as part of a Democratic wave that swept the county.
Important issues: collecting unpaid child support, protecting water rights
Education: Brown (bachelors), University of Houston Law Center (law school)
Biography: Born in Brownsville. Worked in private practice as immigration and family law attorney. Worked for ACLU of Texas as staff attorney for two years.
Political history: Was campaigning in primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville). But when redistricting approved in 2021 made a neighboring seat more competitive, that Democratic incumbent moved into her district and she abandoned her campaign.
Important issues: abortion rights, civil rights
Current job: Attorney
Education: Davidson College (bachelors), University of Texas (law school)
Biography: Former mayor of Galveston and served on the Galveston City Council. He’s a third-generation Texas trial attorney who started his own law firm in 2007.
Political history: Elected to Galveston City Council from 2000 to 2006 and then served as mayor of Galveston from 2010 to 2012.
Important issues: expanding Medicaid, legalizing recreational marijuana, local control
Current job: American Constitutional Attorney
Education: Morehouse College (bachelors), Temple University (law school)
Biography: Merritt started his own law firm in 2012, and has represented the families of multiple people who were killed by police, including George Floyd, Botham Jean, and Atatiana Jefferson.
Political history: None
Important issues: expanding voting access, civil rights
S. T-Bone Raynor
Current job: Attorney
Education: Southern Methodist University (bachelors and law school)
Biography: A practicing attorney based in Dallas and Collin Counties, previously a General Corporate Counsel for a nationwide financial services corporation.
Political history: Precinct Judge for 16 years in Mesquite.
Important issues: mental health, police staffing, foster care system reform