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As expected, former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman (R) filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission indicating she would challenge Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) in the Republican primary. She joins Land Comm. George P. Bush (R), who previously announced his campaign.

Guzman was appointed to the high court in 2009 by then-Gov. Rick Perry (R). She was the first Hispanic/Latina woman elected statewide when she won a full term in 2010. In 2016, Guzman became the highest vote-getter in state history in both the Republican primary (1.27M votes) and the general election (4.9M votes). Both of those records have since been broken.

Guzman enters the race at a significant financial disadvantage. Paxton ended 2020 with $5.6M on hand, which was a little more than three times the $1.8M on hand reported by Bush. Guzman ended the year with just $133K in the bank. Her only campaign finance advantage is a brief head start she gets over the two sitting officeholders. Since she resigned from the Supreme Court, she is no longer constrained by stricter judicial fundraising requirements or campaign contribution moratoriums. Paxton and Bush cannot raise money until June 20.

Given the campaign finance reporting schedule, Guzman’s entry into the race in June means she will disclose early contributions to her campaign in a month. making that report an early indicator of her potential strength. The July semiannual reports, which are due July 15, disclose contributions received and expenditures made during the first half of the year. By entering the race now, Guzman is sending a signal that she will report robust contribution totals, indicating early strength in the race. If she did not expect a strong start in fundraising, waiting until after July 1 to launch her campaign would give her a much longer runway to raise money impressively. Candidates who wait until after July 1 to establish their campaign committees do not report contributions until January 15.

Paxton faced no primary opposition during his 2018 re-election campaign. He raised $8.6M during the 2017-18 election cycle and spent $10.9M to defeat Justin Nelson (D), 51%-47%. Bush raised $2.8M and spent $5.2M during the same period as he defeated Miguel Suazo (D), 54%-43%. Guzman raised $1.1M and spent $1.2M during the 2015-16 election cycle in a re-election bid.

Guzman likely will not have is President Trump’s endorsement. He said he would make an endorsement in the race, which at the time was Paxton versus Bush.

SD11: Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) announced he would seek re-election.

HDCC: Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas) will chair the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee for the 2022 election cycle. She was appointed by Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), who chairs the Texas House Democratic Caucus. She is its vice chair. Turner appointed Reps. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville), Julie Johnson (D-Dallas) and Armando Walle (D-Houston) to the campaign committee’s board.

CD8 open: Willis public works engineer Taylor Whichard IV established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands). He is at least the 10th Republican to take a formal step toward entering the race.

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