Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says Texas public school teachers bring home "a very fair salary."
Dewhurst and three big-name Republican challengers participated in a debate Monday night.
The March 4 primary is considered the state's most competitive one.
Dewhurst is seeking a fourth term while locked in a race feature four largely ideologically indistinguishable conservatives: Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and state Sen. Dan Patrick.
Texas consistently ranks near the bottom nationally in average teacher pay according to many groups that track classroom salaries, including teacher unions.
Dewhurst has been lieutenant governor since 2002 but wants one last term. His challengers accuse the Senate leader of making a celebrity of Democrat Wendy Davis last year by letting her embark on a nearly 13-hour filibuster over new abortion restrictions.