George P. Bush put out koozies dissing his family to try and get Trump’s endorsement. He failed

George P. Bush put out koozies dissing his family to try and get Trump’s endorsement. He failed

Ever feel like you gave out a bunch of beer koozies dissing your own family for nothing? Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush may have an inkling of what that’s like following Donald Trump’s Monday night endorsement of scandal-tarred incumbent Ken Paxton, whom Bush is hoping to unseat in next year’s Republican primary for state attorney general.

Politico had reported months ago that “most insiders” believed that Trump would end up supporting Paxton, who was one of the ringleaders of the failed lawsuit aimed at convincing the Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 election, but that didn’t stop Bush from trying to prevent this outcome by groveling before the GOP’s master. The land commissioner, who is the son of Jeb Bush, famously used his campaign kickoff last month to distribute those beer koozies, which depicted outlines of Bush and Trump shaking hands above a Trump quote reading, “This is the only Bush that likes me! This is the Bush that got it right. I like him.”

Bush also met privately with Trump, who once tweeted that Jeb Bush “has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife,” who is also George P. Bush’s mother. An unnamed source informed CNN that Trump personally told the land commissioner that he wouldn’t be taking sides, but this person “added that was never going to happen.” That may have been news to the challenger, though, as one contact “called Bush naive.”

One source said of the situation, in the words of CNN, “Trump endorsing Paxton is like Lucy and the football and Charlie Brown.” The story added that even Bush’s allies correctly predicted what was about to happen and “warned him not to publicly play up to the former President because Trump would once again take glee in embarrassing the Bush family.” Bush, judging by the existence of those koozies, did not listen.

Bush, though, is still hoping that Paxton’s multitude of scandals will allow him to pull off a win next year despite the challenger’s own weaknesses with the party’s nativist base. Minutes after Trump made his endorsement, Bush took to Twitter to write, “Texans deserve a candidate without a laundry list of existing and potential criminal indictments.” Paxton was indeed indicted for securities fraud during his first months in office in 2015, though things soon stalled due to ongoing legal challenges. He was re-elected 51-47 in 2018, but the case remains ongoing.

In November, the AP reported that the FBI was investigating unrelated allegations that Paxton had used his office to aid a wealthy ally named Nate Paul in exchange for favors. He’s also facing a whistleblower lawsuit from four former senior aides who say they were fired after they reported this behavior to law enforcement. Among other things, this quartet claims that Paul helped their former boss remodel his home and, upon the attorney general’s recommendation, hired a woman Paxton was involved in an affair with. Unsurprisingly, Trump did not find any of this remotely disqualifying.

The GOP primary also involved a third candidate, former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who doesn’t have either of her rivals’ problems or their financial resources. Bush outraised Paxton $2.3 million to $1.8 million during the final 10 days of June (this period was so short because state-level elected officials were prohibited from raising money during the regular legislative session), but it was Paxton who ended last month with a huge $6.8 million to $2.7 million cash-on-hand lead. Guzman, who entered the race in late June, hauled in $1.1 million and had $610,000 to spend.

Texas Democrats haven’t won a statewide race since 1994, but Team Blue is hoping that an acrimonious primary could give them an opening. The Democratic field currently consists of former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski and prominent civil rights attorney Lee Merritt. Jaworski raised $450,000 during the first half of 2021 and had $525,000 to spend while Merritt, who only officially announced this month, took in $100,000 from the progressive group Real Justice PAC.  

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