Five democratic candidates running for Attorney General nomination
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The candidate who wins the Republican primary for attorney general will be facing one of five candidates hoping for the nomination on the Democratic side.
Joe Jaworski, Rochelle Mercedes Garza, Lee Merritt, Mike Fields and Stephen “Tbone” Raynor are competing in the primary.
Joe Jaworski is a former mayor of Galveston who said he’s running to restore integrity and confidence to the office.
“I want all the voters, regardless of political persuasion, to understand that the Texas Attorney General is not the governor’s lawyer, not the legislature’s lawyer,” Jaworski said. “He is the people’s lawyer.”
Jaworski said while he is a Democrat, there needs to be moderate Republican and Independent support as well. Over the last three decades, Jaworski said he has been practicing trial law, and the last ten years he has focused on mediation.
He said that experience will help in the attorney general’s office. If elected, Jaworski said he wants to focus on solving issues for Texans, rather than picking winners and losers in culture issues.
“I would much rather be working with the people of Texas whether it be child support, consumer protection, like dealing with your health insurer, or your property insurer, and letting people vote who legally should vote and doing something concrete about the immigration issue here in Texas,” Jaworski said.
Rochelle Mercedes Garza is a civil rights attorney who said she’s running to fight for a better future for Texas families, consumer protection, healthcare and to protect civil rights.
“I’ve taken on Ken Paxton, I’ve taken on Brett Kavanaugh and the Trump administration,” Garza said. “I’m someone that is willing to fight for Texas families and I have the experience doing that, and I will continue to do that in this office.”
Garza said she has practiced family law, criminal defense, immigration and constitutional law. She said her priorities are basic in terms of what they intend to do, and she said that’s to uplift Texans. Garza said she envisions creating a civil rights division, with a voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and disability rights subdivisions.
“I want all the same things that that Texans want, which is ensuring a better future for my for my child in my own family,” Garza said. “And I’m the candidate to get this done.”
Lee Merritt is a constitutional attorney who said he’s running for the office because it should be fighting for individual rights and ensuring all Texans have their constitutional rights protected.
“We need to run a candidate who can actually win and who is ready to do the job on day one,” Merritt said. “My practice has positioned me not only to have a platform and a following that will generate energy into the campaign but I’ll be ready to do the job on day one.”
Merritt said his first goal is to ensure voting rights. He said he believes its the role of the attorney general to ensure free and fair elections for all.
Merritt said he would also like to see the attorney general’s office use resource to respond to the mental health crisis. He hopes to create a mental health department within the office to help counties find best practices and get more resources to law enforcement.
“Voters should know that I’m a fighter, that I am not reluctant to oppose right-wing extremism, that I’ve been doing it my entire career and I’ve been winning,” Merritt said.
Mike Fields, a former assistant attorney general and retired judge said he’s running to bring a sense of normalcy back to the office.
He says it’s time to focus on Texas’ needs, rather than suing Google or the Biden administration. Fields said Texas is a common sense state, and his number one goal is to bring common sense back to the office.
“I’ve been an attorney general, so I’ve seen how the office works from the inside,” Fields said. “I’ve been an assistant district attorney, so I’ve seen how the criminal justice system works from the inside. I’ve also been a judge for 20 years as a Republican.”
Fields said he plans to dismiss frivolous lawsuits, make sure that women’s rights to reproductive healthcare are protected, fight for LGBTQ rights and make sure the economy runs well.
“I’ve had the benefit of being able to make decisions in real time that affect people’s lives in a real way,” Fields said.
Stephen “Tbone” Raynor, an attorney from the Dallas area, said he’s running because he believes we have a problem in state leadership.
Raynor said he doesn’t believe Texas needs to be filing politically based, partisan lawsuits, and that the state can cooperate with other state attorney generals.
“We don’t have to be the leader across the board in every area of law,” Raynor said. “We can cooperate with other attorney generals and let them take the point and then we can provide support for them. We don’t need to sue Washington every other day. That’s pointless. We have a limited budget.”
Raynor said he wants to address growing crime rates and consumer complaints. In terms of addressing crime, Raynor said he has experience helping a client reduce crime at their business, and he said police and other businesses have used those suggestions as well.
“I would be able to use my previous experiences in selecting the right people for the right jobs to propel us again into resolving problems,” Raynor said.
Early voting runs through Friday, and Election Day is March 1.
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