Live Updates: Paxton Forced Into GOP Runoff for Texas AG | Florida News

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The latest developments on Texas‘ primary election:

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been forced into a runoff for the Republican nomination as he tries to hang onto his job while under the cloud of an FBI investigation.

Paxton was ahead Tuesday night at the top vote-getter in a crowded race but failed to capture the more than 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was trying to advance to face Paxton in the runoff. Eva Guzman, a former state Supreme Court justice, and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert also were competing for a spot in the runoff.

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Since taking office in 2015, Paxton has become one of the nation’s most prominent state attorneys general, leading lawsuits against Big Tech and trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. But he has also spent those years dogged by a felony indictment on securities fraud charges and revelations that donors and allies have benefited from his office.

A bigger threat to his political future looms after several top deputies resigned in 2020 and reported Paxton to the FBI over accusations that he used his office to help a wealthy donor.

Paxton has broadly denied wrongdoing and called the accusations politically motivated.

HOUSTON — Two-term U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw survived a Republican primary challenge in his Houston-area district after facing criticism from the right wing of the party that he’s not conservative enough.

Crenshaw was seen as a rising star in the GOP when first elected in 2018. He has since come under fire for refusing to say the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. He also has called some activists within the party “grifters” and accused them of trying to stir up rage and make money off division.

Crenshaw also insists that he has stayed close to the conservative roots that first got him elected in 2018.

Still, Crenshaw drew three challengers in his reelection campaign in the heavily-Republican district. They had hoped to capitalize in a district that has been redrawn into an even more conservative one.

Crenshaw advances to the November general election..

DENTON — A Texas county north of Dallas will be delayed in releasing Republican primary election results after technical difficulties forced two polling places to remain open late.

Problems with the electronic poll books used to verify voters at two of Denton County’s 131 polling locations mean those sites must stay open until 9 p.m., rather than closing at 7 p.m., and results cannot be reported until they close, the county said in a statement.

County spokesperson Dawn Cobb said that while the devices were reset, poll workers had to verify voter identities by phone, which was slower. She said she did not know what the underlying problem with the poll books was.

The delay will not affect the reporting of Democratic results because the two sites that had issues only had Republican polling sites, Cobb said. Under Texas law, the parties operate separate primaries.

County elections administrator Frank Phillips said in a statement that their use of paper ballots “creates a system to track all votes and maintain the integrity of the election.”

HOUSTON — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is again his party’s nominee after a commanding win over a band of challengers from the far right, including Allen West — a former Florida congressman.

Abbott is running for a third term, but the fact that the 64-year-old governor even drew primary challengers underscored his disapproval within the GOP’s activist wing.

West, who moved to suburban Dallas after serving one term in Congress as a tea party firebrand in Florida, stepped down as chairman of the Texas GOP to run for governor. He and other challengers had bet that anger within the party’s grassroots over Abbott’s handling of the pandemic — including a mask mandate in 2020 — could catapult their long shot candidacies.

But Abbott, who had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, all but ignored them. He enters the general election with more than $50 million to spend, a formidable campaign account that ranks among the largest of any governor in the country.

EL PASO — Democrats have officially made Beto O’Rourke their nominee for Texas governor and latest hope of ending decades of losses in the nation’s biggest red state.

O’Rourke had no serious primary competition and has spent the early months of his campaign trying to regain his footing in Texas after his run for president in 2020 soured some of his supporters back home.

No Democrat has won statewide office in Texas in nearly 30 years. O’Rourke came close in 2018 when his narrow loss for a U.S. Senate seat made him a party phenomenon. But that energy didn’t last after joining a crowded field of Democrats vying for the White House.

So far, O’Rourke has shown he can still quickly raise millions of dollars and draw a crowd. But he has also been pressed on liberal positions he took during his run for president, none more famous than his “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.”

Last month, O’Rourke said during a campaign stop in East Texas that he “wasn’t interested in taking anything away from anyone” but has continued to say assault weapons shouldn’t be on the streets.

HOUSTON — Texas’ election chief says “damaged ballot sheets” in Houston are slowing down vote-counting in the state’s largest county.

Texas Secretary of State John Scott said Tuesday night just after polls closed that Harris County election administrators told his office they won’t be able to report all votes before a required deadline of 24 hours after polls close. He cited damaged ballots that that must be duplicated before being scanned.

Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the office, said Harris County will still be reporting results but indicated they won’t be able to perform a full report by the deadline.

“They told us they should be able to report most if not all early vote totals, but Election Day totals will be severely delayed,” Taylor said.

A spokeswoman for the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Harris County has nearly 2.5 million registered voters and has come under criticism in past elections over long lines and being slow to post voting results.

Scott said his office was “closely monitoring” ballot counting in Harris County, a Democratic stronghold that was at the center of Republican efforts to tighten voting restrictions in Texas after offering drive-thru and 24-hour polling locations in 2020.

HOUSTON — Polls are closing across most of Texas in the nation’s first primary of the 2022 midterm elections.

Voting precincts close at 7 p.m. local time. Although most of Texas is in the Central Time Zone, a small section of the western part of the state is in Mountain Time and will keep voting open until 8 p.m. CST.

Voters who are in line before polls close will be able to cast their ballots. Some polling sites reported delays in opening Tuesday morning, but there was no indication any would stay open later than planned.

Voters picked nominees for governor, attorney general, congressional seats and more. The results in Texas will offer an early test of former President Donald Trump’s continued strength in the GOP and whether Democrats can hold the line with Hispanic voters along the border.

It’s also the first election under new Texas voting restrictions that have resulted in thousands of rejected mail ballots. Texas is among at least 18 states that will hold elections this year under tougher rules, some of which were driven by Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in 2020.

FORT WORTH — Some Texas counties are running a split primary, when two elections happen separately but simultaneously at polling locations. That is spurring voter frustration and tensions between the parties over the sharing of resources.

In Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, Elections Administrator Heider Garcia confirmed the county saw isolated issues with machines Tuesday at some polling locations. He said in a split primary, each party has its own machines programmed and allocated and that one party’s voters cannot use the other party’s machines.

Across Texas, political parties in each county choose to run a split or joint primary on election day. Each party is responsible for staffing their election during a split primary and can choose to help the opposite party if they are experiencing staffing shortages.

In the Houston area, Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office spokeswoman Leah Shah said the parties notified the county of staffing shortages just three days before the election. She said it is possible voters could see one side of the room not used, while the other faces long lines.

Shah said the election materials were allocated at each polling location based on historical voter turnout data. There must be both a Republican and Democrat election judge at each polling location for both sides of the polling location to be open to voters.

HOUSTON — Absent poll workers and technical hiccups are causing isolated delays leading to some voters having to wait to cast their primary ballots in two major Texas cities.

In Houston Tuesday morning, some voters scrambled to find where to go after a Harris County website that directs voters to polling places went down for about 90 minutes. County elections spokesperson Nadia Hakim told the Houston Chronicle that an online list of polling places and a voter information phone line remained active during that time.

In Fort Worth, a handful of poll workers did not show up as scheduled, delaying the opening of some polling places in Tarrant County.

Tarrant County’s Elections Administrator Heider Garcia told WFAA-TV that the county was short 10 Democratic poll workers and two from the Republican side. He says the county was able to open all its polling places by 11 a.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — Polls are open in Texas for the nation’s first primary of the 2022 midterm elections.

Voters on Tuesday are picking nominees for governor, congressional seats and more. The results in Texas will offer an early test of former President Donald Trump’s continued strength in the GOP and whether Democrats can hold the line with Hispanic voters along the border.

It’s also the first election under new Texas voting restrictions that have resulted in thousands of rejected mail ballots. Texas is among at least 18 states that will hold elections this year under tougher rules, some of which were driven by Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in 2020.

The biggest races include Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton trying to keep his job while under the cloud of an FBI investigation. His challengers include George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner and last member of his famous family who is still in office.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has spent months looking past the primary and campaigning against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, the former presidential candidate who is in line to lock up his party’s nomination for governor.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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