Attorney General Ken Paxton faces a new challenger in the Republican primary race. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman announced her candidacy for attorney general on Monday. She joins Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has also announced a campaign against Paxton.
Guzman has already received an endorsement from the political action committee, Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
Renee Cross is senior director of the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. She told Texas Standard that Guzman has served on the Texas Supreme Court for 11 years. Guzman grew up working to help support her family in Houston, and was the first in her family to go to college. She earned a master’s degree and a law degree, Cross says.
“Very impressive woman,” Cross said of Guzman.
Guzman was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Perry in 2009, winning election in 2011.
Cross says Guzman has extensive criminal and civil court experience.
“I think that will contrast nicely with that of George P. Bush and Ken Paxton,” Cross said.
Guzman is a coalition-builder, Cross says, who should appeal to suburban Republicans who didn’t support President Donald Trump, but who still lean conservative. She may also do well with conservative Latino voters in South Texas.
Two Democrats have joined the attorney general race so far: Dallas attorney Lee Merritt and Joe Jaworski, a former Galveston mayor. Cross says neither is as well known as the three Republican contenders.
“I think Democrats will have a strong push next year, even though, traditionally, a midterm year is not favorable to the party in presidential power,” she said. “But Joe Jaworski is very well-liked among Democrats. I think the major hurdle for both him and Lee Merritt is just name recognition.”