Rochelle Garza tied with Ken Paxton for AG, but will Democrats, donors boost her?
After a survey of The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler showed a stalemate in the race for Texas attorney general, Democratic nominee Rochelle Garza surged with an answer.
“As Ken Paxton uses the power of his office to engage in culture wars, I pledge to protect our rights as Texans, to hold powerful and evil actors to account, and to bring integrity back to the office. of the GA,” Garza said in a statement. just hours after the poll was released.
The fact that Garza is only edging incumbent Republican Ken Paxton by a 34% to 32% margin is indicative of the rare opportunity Texas Democrats have to win their first statewide race since 1994. C It was then that Democrat Dan Morales was re-elected Attorney General.
Paxton is facing a securities fraud indictment in 2015, and the FBI is investigating allegations of public corruption and kickbacks made by several of his former employees. The beleaguered Paxton is considered the weakest link on the statewide GOP slate, giving Garza, a former ACLU attorney, the chance to make history.
But while the midsummer poll shows a close race, campaign mechanics favor Paxton, who is expected to have a bigger campaign fund than Garza, and has a bigger political base to extract votes to place him. above which will be a close election. There are more Republicans than Democrats in the Texas electorate, so Garza must be hoping some Republican voters throw or sit on Paxton as she works to broaden the Democratic base. Paxton is losing independent support, according to the poll, which could also help Garza.
Garza, who is running for the first time for statewide office, should be praised for coming out of a competitive primary and applying more pressure on Paxton than he has since his meteoric rise. from McKinney’s lawyer to the best lawyer in the state. With few exceptions, however, it appears Democratic donors and operatives inside and outside of Texas are leaving Garza to fight his battle against Paxton without much help. It’s confusing, because polls show Paxton to be vulnerable.
Importantly, the National Party and its candidates are using Texas as an ATM, generously withdrawing money from the state to spend on races in battleground states for Congress, the Senate, and the Presidency. . This includes President Joe Biden, who in 2020 reneged on his promise to spend resources to help candidates vote in this general election.
During a segment of Sunday’s edition of Lone Star Policya television program produced by The news and KXAS-TV (NBC5), I asked Garza if she was getting any help from National Democrats.
Garza was optimistic about outside support, touting alliances with the Democratic Attorneys General Association, EMILY’s List and the Latino Victory Fund.
“We work with national organizations to make sure they invest in Texas,” Garza said.
She added that she was in a position to deliver a statewide victory for the Democrats and send a message that Republican rule in Texas was coming to an end.
“This is the best opportunity we’ve had in almost 30 years,” Garza said. “We’ve had nearly 30 years of GOP leadership and it hasn’t improved the state.”
Texas is an expensive state to run, and Garza needs a lot more to defeat Paxton than the $450,000 she had on hand during the last campaign finance window. By contrast, the incumbent had $3.5 million in the bank, and that could rise significantly after a Sept. 1 fundraiser in New Jersey hosted by former President Donald Trump, which Paxton endorsed.
“Birds of a feather flock together,” Garza said of Paxton and Trump. “They are both under criminal investigation by the FBI.”
But which great National Democrat, or any other, will help Garza in his fight against Paxton?
Analysts say the former ACLU attorney needs at least $10 million to pull off the upheaval, which would include TV ads on expensive state media markets. Several Democratic consultants I spoke with last week said it would be ideal if Garza could raise $18 million, which could be enough to run for voters and mount a credible campaign.
History and pragmatism may be the reason many donors and national figures will sit on the sidelines in this race. The priority of many Democrats is to try to hold seats in the United States House and Senate in other parts of the country, so the money spent in Michigan and Georgia is more necessary than a statewide race in Texas.
National and state donors have already been burned by the optimism of Texas Democrats. In 2020, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee established an office in Texas and poured money into an effort to flip the GOP seats. It did not work. And the Democrats’ much-publicized plan to take over the Texas House has failed.
It is now a “boy who cried wolf” situation. People don’t believe Texas is in the game.
Just as Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke assumed in 2020, Democrats in Texas will have to win on their own.
Garza is about to become a political superstar, if she can beat Paxton.
But if she loses, Democrats in and out of state will mourn another missed opportunity.
And whose fault is it?