The race for Texas Attorney General is between the incumbent, Republican Ken Paxton, who is seeking a third four-year term, and Democrat Rochelle Garza, who secured her party’s nomination after navigating a field of four other candidates in a hotly contested primary.
As part of our coverage of the upcoming November general election, The Dallas Express sent questions to both major party candidates for Texas Attorney General, their answers to which we will share with our readers.
The candidates’ answers are printed in full without editing by our staff. While Paxton responded to our questions, unfortunately, Garza did not.
The Dallas Express: What is your top priority as the Attorney General of Texas?
Paxton: I believe one of the most important responsibilities of our government is to ensure the safety and security of our citizens, and as Texas’ top law enforcement officer, I believe my top priority should be prosecuting those who break our laws and working to protect our citizens from dangerous crime and costly fraud. This means I must engage and fight a number of serious challenges head-on as Attorney General.
Due to Joe Biden’s open-borders policies, Texas is on the frontlines of the cataclysmic crisis on our southern border as dangerous drug cartels bring millions of illegal immigrants, violent crime, and deadly drugs across our border. Texans in communities of all kinds are seeing a crime spike that is making our streets less safe, and radical politicians and soft-on-crime District Attorneys threaten to exacerbate these dangers.
The Dallas Express: What is one power that is not currently vested within the Office of the Attorney General that you would like the legislature to add? Why?
Paxton: Just this week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a shameful decision giving only local DAs with radical liberal views the sole power to prosecute election fraud in Texas. The timing is no accident — this is devastating for the integrity of our upcoming elections in Texas this year and beyond. I believe the Texas Legislature must act to return the power to prosecute election fraud to the top law enforcement officer in the state.
The Dallas Express: What is the most important issue for you to tackle as the attorney general in the next four years if victorious in November? Why?
Paxton: I believe one of my most important responsibilities as the top law enforcement officer for the state of Texas is to help keep people safe. It is also clear that the most significant threat to our state and our citizens’ safety is undoubtedly the crisis on our southern border that has erupted due to President Joe Biden’s open-borders policies.
The Dallas Express: Should the attorney general of Texas have more investigative authority or less? If you believe more, please explain in what areas and why you believe local district attorneys are insufficient for the job. If less, please explain in what areas and why you believe local district attorneys are up for the task.
Paxton: Across the country and in Texas as well, a wave of soft-on-crime District Attorneys has swept into office, and the consequences have been devastating. When it comes to a host of both violent and non-violent crimes, District Attorneys like Travis County DA Jose Garza have repeatedly failed to pursue adequate sentences and passed on prosecuting drug crimes at a time when drug overdoses are spiking.
Radical policies that keep criminals on our streets threaten everyone’s safety. Failure to curb fraud and abuse threatens our institutions and is unfair to taxpayers. Declining to pursue election fraud will result in a further diminished faith in the integrity of our elections. The Attorney General’s office exists to defend the rule of law in our state, while so many others hope to skirt it.
The Dallas Express: Recent headlines about FBI or broader DOJ investigations have raised concerns about the politicization of federal law enforcement. Do you agree that this is a concern?
Paxton: Absolutely. It is truly sad that Democrats’ new way of handling political disagreements is threats of investigation and prosecutions. President Biden & AG Garland have co-opted the DOJ into a political outfit to benefit Dems & target anyone who speaks out against their radical agenda. We must fight against this dangerous behavior and insist on holding them accountable.
The Dallas Express: With an 89% increase in fentanyl deaths in Texas in 2021, what is the single biggest thing the attorney general can do to prevent further deaths?
Paxton: As part of our numerous and substantial settlement agreements with opioid manufacturers, we’ve obtained millions of dollars to help fight opioid addiction and crucial lifesaving resources, including naloxone, which can revive opioid overdose victims.
The Dallas Express: It is the duty of the attorney general to enforce Texas State Law. Are there any laws you are not willing to enforce?
Paxton: First and foremost, I believe it is my primary duty to enforce Texas Law whenever possible. There may be instances where legislation is crafted inartfully or is unconstitutional, where my office may choose a different course of action, but this is something we evaluate on a case-to-case basis.
The Dallas Express: How should the average citizen respond when they see accusations of impropriety levied at public officials in the media?
Paxton: Far too often, the media attempts to play judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to accusations — not the court of law. I know this firsthand as the target of a politically motivated effort to ruin my career as a public servant. The sad truth of today is that opponents always target those who are fighting the hardest against powerful establishment forces — which is what I’ve tried to do my entire career. Despite this, I pledge never to back down because the challenges facing Texas are far too important.
The Dallas Express: Transparency is vital to holding the government accountable. What is your approach to ensuring transparency for the taxpayers by enforcing compliance with the Texas Public Information Act?
Paxton: Protecting taxpayers is of the utmost importance to my office. We strive to comply with all best practices to ensure transparency and ensure our budget is free of waste, and we are meticulous in investigating and rooting out fraud and deceptive practices.
Although Garza declined to respond to repeated attempts to make contact through various means, her campaign has signaled that she would refuse to enforce certain laws she disagrees with, such as anti-abortion laws, initiatives restricting unlawful migration, and the criminalization of cannabis.
Polling in the Texas Attorney General’s race has been tight. The Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin reported that polling conducted in August shows a close margin: 38% Paxton to 33% Garza, with the remaining voters undecided or choosing someone else.
More recently, polling performed in September by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation showed a similar margin but with far fewer undecided voters, with Paxton at 47% and Garza at 42% among likely voters.
Early voting begins Monday, October 24, and runs through Friday, November 4. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.
Why just Paxton’s responses?
I don’t understand why this was Garza’s response: “Garza declined to respond to repeated attempts to make contact through various means.”
I am disappointed with this article on many levels. I only see the face of Ken Paxton a criminal and thus article may make people want to vote for him. Why didn’t you ask him and the charges that have been brought up against him?
I also see the face of Greg Abbot. Why didn’t you ask Beto some questions so you could as least show him face?