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Majority of House Republicans who voted to impeach Paxton won primary races


(The Center Square) – The majority of Republican state representatives who voted to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and ran for reelection won their primary races on Tuesday.

Sixty House Republicans voted to impeach Paxton last May, passing 20 articles of impeachment with four articles held in abeyance. Paxton was the first attorney general in Texas history to be impeached, and primarily by members of his own party. He was later acquitted by the Texas Senate along party lines; two Republican senators primarily voted with Democrats to convict him.

The 2024 Republican primary election was seen as a referendum on two key issues: school choice and Paxton’s impeachment.

On Tuesday, school choice candidates won big whereas the majority of the candidates Paxton endorsed lost.

Ahead of the primary election, polls indicated that Paxton’s impeachment and endorsement of candidates were not significant factors to Republican primary voters. Polls conflicted on whether a candidate’s position on school choice and Gov. Greg Abbott’s endorsement were.

Several Republicans who voted to impeach Paxton retired or ran for higher office.

Of those who chose to run for reelection after voting to impeach Paxton, 41 were reelected in their primary races on Tuesday.

Several ran for reelection unopposed and won. Nearly all incumbents who voted to impeach Paxton who were also endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott won their reelection outright. The majority of their challengers, endorsed by Paxton, lost.

In HD 5, for example, incumbent state Rep. Cole Hefner, who voted to impeach Paxton and was endorsed by Abbott, defeated Paxton’s preferred candidate, Jeff Fletch, by a vote of 69% to 19%.

In HD 69, incumbent state Rep. Trent Ashby, who voted to impeach Paxton and was endorsed by Abbott, defeated Paxton’s preferred candidate, Paulette Carson, by similar margins, 82% to 17%.

This was a consistent trend. According to preliminary election results published by the Secretary of State’s Office, 20 challengers to incumbent Republicans who voted to impeach Paxton lost by large margins on Tuesday. Another 21 incumbents who voted to impeach him ran unopposed and won.

According to an analysis by The Center Square of preliminary election data and the impeachment vote, 41 Republican House incumbents who voted to impeach Paxton won their primary election. They include: Keith Bell (HD 4), Cole Hefner (HD 5), Jay Dean (HD 7), Cody Harris (HD 8), Trent Ashby (HD 9), Angelia Orr (HD 13), Will Metcalf (HD 16), Stan Gerdes (HD 17), Ellen Troxclair (HD 19), Terry Wilson (HD 20), Greg Bonnen (HD 24), Cody Vasut (HD 25), Gary Gates (HD 28), Ryan Guillen (HD 31), Todd Hunter (HD 32), Janie Lopez (HD 37), JM Lozano (HD 43), Brad Buckley (HD 54), Benjamin Bumgarner (HD 63), Matt Shaneen (HD 66), Jeff Leach (HD 67), David Spiller (HD 68), James Frank (HD 69), Stan Lambert (HD 71), Drew Darby (HD 72), Brooks Landgraf (HD 81), Dustin Burrows (HD 83), Carl Tepper (HD 84), Stan Kitzman (HD 85), Ken King (HD 88), Candy Noble (HD 89), David Cook (HD 96), Giovanni Capriglione (HD 98), Charlie Geren (HD 99), Jared Patterson (HD 106), Morgan Meyer (HD 108), Angie Chen Button (HD 112), John Lujan (HD 118), Brisco Cain (HD 128), Mano DeAyala (HD 133) and Lacey Hull (HD 138).

Two House Republicans who later said they regretted voting to impeach Paxton were Reps. JM Lozano of Kingsville and Gary Gates of Richmond. They both won their primary elections.

Three of four incumbent House Republicans from Collin County, Paxton’s county of residence, won their reelection despite him endorsing their challengers: Shaheen; Leach, an impeachment manager; and Noble. A fourth is heading to a runoff.

Ten Republican state House candidates Paxton endorsed are heading to runoff elections, including David Covey, who challenged House Speaker Dade Phelan in HD 21. Fifteen candidates Paxton endorsed won their primary races. Many of those who won were also endorsed by Abbott and/or former President Donald Trump and were pro-school choice.

Only a few incumbents who voted for impeachment lost, or were forced into a runoff, primarily because of their position on school choice. In some of these races, Abbott endorsed a school choice candidate who forced the incumbent out of office or into a runoff.

Two exceptions to this pattern were Reps. Jacey Jetton and Stephanie Klick, who both voted to impeach Paxton and were endorsed by Abbott and had challengers backed by Paxton. Jetton lost the primary, Klick is heading to a runoff election.

The runoff election is May 28.