George P. Bush did his best to run away from his family’s legacy and embrace Trumpism, but it still wasn’t enough. On Tuesday, Bush lost the GOP primary runoff for Texas attorney general to incumbent Ken Paxton.
It’s a significant defeat for Bush, 46, who currently serves as the state land commissioner and was once considered a rising star in the party. But it’s also a blow to the Bush dynasty, once the ruling family in Republican Party politics. George P. Bush’s father is the former governor of Florida, and his uncle and grandfather are former presidents.
Texas itself became associated around the world with the Bush name. As president, George W. Bush would spend his time away from the White House at his ranch in Crawford, and both he and his father, George H.W. Bush, have their presidential libraries in the state.
George P. Bush didn’t really want Texas Republicans to think about all that this time. He shifted to the right, emphasizing his conservative credentials. He said he wanted to ban abortion, crack down on undocumented immigration and dig in on other social issues. He shed his family’s pro-business, hawkish, center-right mantle.
Trump, however, endorsed Paxton. And Paxton and his allies did all they could to remind voters of his opponent’s last name.
“I’m proud of my family’s contributions to Texas and America. But this race isn’t about my last name,” Bush said in one of his ads in response. “It’s about Ken Paxton’s crimes.”
Indeed, Paxton is dealing with some legal trouble. As The Texas Tribune summed up, Paxon is facing a number of scandals, “including a seven-year-old indictment for securities fraud, an FBI investigation into allegations of malfeasance, accusations of cheating on his wife and a lawsuit by the state bar challenging his ethics as a practicing attorney.”
Paxton is a loyal supporter of Trump’s “big lie,” the false claim that Trump, rather than Joe Biden, was the true victor of the 2020 presidential election. Paxton filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election results in four states, and he spoke at Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol.