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Two North Texans -- Ken Paxton, Dan Branch -- Advance To GOP Attorney General Runoff

Bill Zeeble
A pleased Ken Paxton in front of several hundred supporters election night in Frisco. He's in a runoff with Dallas Representative Dan Branch, who finished more than 10 percentage points behind Paxton

Two North Texans will be battling it out in the Republican race for Attorney General. With 44 percent of the vote, State Senator Ken Paxton topped State Representative Dan Branch, who got 33 percent. Neither topped 50 percent, so the two now head into a May runoff.

It was a happy crowd at Paxton’s election party in Frisco. Paxton backer Rob Holmes said his candidate appealed to Christian and fiscal conservatives at the grassroots level the same way Paxton supporter Senator Ted Cruz did.   

“All the grassroots people who upset the senatorial election are going to be the same people who rise up and go with the same grassroots type of candidate," Holmes said.

Paxton said between now and the runoff, he’ll tell voters how he’s the real conservative, and how he differs from Branch.

“Texans chose a friend of Ted Cruz, not someone gearing up to run against Ted Cruz just a few years ago," Paxton said. "Texans made it clear they want a conservative rooted in deeply held convictions, not someone who claims to be conservative. Texans weren’t fooled and won't be fooled on May 27th."

At Branch headquarters, with most of the votes already counted, the disappointed-looking Dallas representative declined an interview. But Campaign Manager Enrique Marquez said Branch and his team are happy to be in the runoff and Branch is looking forward to round two.

Branch has been characterized by many tea party voters as not being conservative enough. But Marquez said his candidate will offer a clear contrast between Paxton’s record and Branch’s record of conservative results.


Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.