LUBBOCK, Texas–Republican candidate for Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is back in the media attempting to regain control of his message and momentum while attempting to move past disclosure issues that have plagued his campaign in recent weeks.
Paxton told KFYO-AM in Lubbock that he spent “12 years in the legislature and that he always tried to follow all of the rules that they were required to follow.” Paxton pointed to charities that he failed to disclose but that his campaign was quick to file an amendment once his campaign was alerted to the charities that were left off his disclosure list. The second issue that Paxton brought up was that he was fined $1,000 by the State Security Board for violating the Texas Securities Act. The State Securities Board reprimanded Paxton for soliciting investment clients in 2012 without registering. While the investigation found that Paxton had engaged in unregistered solicitation in 2004, 2005, and 2012, Paxton was only fined for the 2012 offense since it was the only time in the last 5 years that Paxton had violated the Texas Securities Act.
Paxton told KFYO that his campaign had put all the issues behind him and that the he was ready to move on. “All I can say is that we found out we made a mistake, and as quickly as we could, we resolved all this stuff in a really short period of time. We resolved it, we did our best to fix it, and I guess what I want people to know is if we make a mistake, we’re not going to run from it. We’re going to turn into it, and take care of any mistakes that we make, and that will be true while I’m Attorney General. If there’s something we need to fix, we’ll fix it.” Paxton also told KFYO that any suggestion that he broke federal law was “totally false” and “it was a complete exaggeration by my opponent.”
Breitbart News reached out to the Branch campaign for response. Enrique Marquez, spokesman for the Branch campaign said, “Ken Paxton admitted to repeatedly breaking state securities law in the 2004, 2005 and 2012. Ken Paxton has spent the last three weeks canceling or not responding to over a dozen joint appearances with Dan Branch because he doesn’t want to talk about breaking the law. Ken Paxton had a chance to meet with Dan Branch over a dozen times to talk about both of their records, but he didn’t. In addition to his securities issues, Ken Paxton may be at risk for losing his law license because he violated Rules 1.08 and 8.04 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Texans want an Attorney General who can enforce the laws. Ken Paxton can’t even obey the laws.”
While the Paxton campaign attempts to move past the issue, the campaign has seemed to lose some momentum lately. Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told KFYO on Monday that the news and attacks from the Branch campaign has had “some impact” and that it has “shaken him [Paxton] from his momentum.” Mackowiak pointed out that with Paxton appearing back on radio shows that his campaign is ready to go back on offense after being a little invisible over the past few weeks.
While the Paxton campaign has celebrated recent endorsements from former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, and the National Rifle Association, the Branch campaign has seen numerous endorsements in the past couple of weeks including an endorsement from Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Texas Land Commission and former Republican candidate for Texas Attorney General. After his appearance on KFYO, the Dallas Morning News reported that the McKinney Police Department Association had withdrawn their endorsement of Paxton.
Breitbart Texas recently reported on the Smitherman endorsement of Branch and how it conflicted with previous statements from Smitherman. In an article titled, “Former AFL-CIO Union Group Lobbyist Dan Branch Under Fire,” Bob Price revealed Smitherman’s strong statements against Branch that the then candidate made prior to endorsing him.
Mackowiak did point out that while Paxton has been dealing with these issues now, it doesn’t mean that the overall dynamics have changed. “The question is, do average voters pay attention to this? I think with the primary being the day after Memorial Day, you’re going to have a more conservative electorate, it’s going to be a smaller than the March 4 primary turnout and generally speaking that’s going to benefit the candidates that are perceived as more conservative and in the attorney general’s race that’s Ken Paxton.”
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby recently covered the allegations Branch and most of his allies in Texas media have focused on in the runoff against Paxton. In a piece titled, “Pack of Dogs: Dan Branch, Texas Media and a Democratic Trial Lawyer Attack Ken Paxton,” Darby identified what seems to be a unified effort on the part of Branch, left-of-center media outlets, and a Democratic trial lawyer to engage in what Darby deemed hyperbolic attacks against Paxton for what amounted to Paxton having made administrative paperwork mistakes and not disclosing his efforts to help abused women, children, Alzheimer’s patients, and people who were unable to afford Bibles.
Darby spoke with this writer on the matter and largely agreed with Mackowiak. He said, “Paxton is winning by a good margin in all of the polling I’ve seen. Branch is wise to focus on the sloppiness of Paxton’s paperwork rather than discuss his own historical issues.” Darby went further, “Branch having secretly been an AFL-CIO union group lobbyist and then taken action that could have given special treatment to unions, Branch having attempted to expand the authority of abortionists to have more ground and leeway in performing late-term abortions in Texas–these are both issues that the Branch campaign is wise to avoid.”
Follow Chad Hasty on Twitter @ChadHastyRadio.