Republican Matt Krause, a longtime ally of embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said Thursday he is joining the growing ranks of candidates who will challenge him for his job in 2022.
Paxton is seeking a third term under the cloud of an FBI investigation, set off by an extraordinary revolt by his top deputies last year, and is still awaiting trial on felony securities fraud charges. Republicans George P. Bush and Eva Guzman, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, have already launched GOP primary challenges against Paxton.
Krause is a Texas state representative who has previously supported Paxton. A member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Krause said he saw an opening in the field and said the upheaval in Paxton's office raises a question about his ability to focus on the job.
"I've been a supporter in the past, but new information, new developments have caused me to even consider getting into this race," Krause said.
Paxton has broadly denied accusations by his former staff that he abused his office to benefit a wealthy donor. Separately, Paxton was indicted in 2015 on charges of defrauding investors in a tech startup and has pleaded not guilty. He is still awaiting trial in that case, which has been stalled for years.
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Paxton.
Dallas civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who has represented the families of Black people killed by police, is also running against Paxton as a Democrat.