Editorials

Sam Houston for attorney general, but in a thin field

There is no great candidate in the race for Texas attorney general.

The Republican nominee, lawyer and state Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney, is undeserving of consideration.

Paxton was fined $1,000 and still may face a felony investigation.

In May, state securities regulators found Paxton sent clients to an investment firm without registering or disclosing his own paid role.

It happened three times. A 2012 violation is within the five-year statute of limitations.

Paxton should know better.

No candidate to lead “the people’s law firm” should ever have misled a client, a state board or the people of Texas.

The Democratic Party candidate, Houston civil litigation lawyer Sam Houston, is running his second campaign.

Using “Sam” instead of his professional name, Samuel A. Houston, he drew more votes than any other Texas Democrat in a losing 2008 Supreme Court race.

Houston has practiced law for 26 years. He describes his practice as litigation representing doctors, lawyers and mortgage companies. He is board-certified in personal injury trial law.

Houston says many of the right things about the Texas attorney general’s office, which is basically a big civil law firm. He says the position became too political and should return to operating an efficient, even-handed law office.

In particular, he expressed concern about the office withholding public records.

Houston said he will fulfill the attorney general’s obligation to defend state law in court whether he agrees or disagrees with it, reassuring voters concerned about whether a Democrat would defend Texas abortion laws or marriage restrictions.

Libertarian candidate Jamie Balagia of San Antonio, a criminal defense attorney and former police officer, takes the conservative position on many issues and might pose an alternative for liberty-minded Republicans. However, he focuses mostly on decriminalizing marijuana.

No matter how this election turns out, the district attorneys in Travis and other counties should decide as soon as possible whether to investigate Paxton or bring a case to a grand jury.

Houston presents an adequate résumé in a thin field.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Sam Houston for attorney general.

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