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Democrat looking to make up ground in race for Attorney General

Rochelle Garza says her first priority would be restoring transparency and accountability.

TEXAS, USA — With less than six weeks to go before the midterm election, Rochelle Garza says there’s still time for her to make a move in the race for Attorney General.

The Democrat trails by 5% in the latest poll. But Garza says abortion, a central message of her campaign, is an issue that moves people and can help her close that gap.

“They (Texans) do not want to see women relegated to second-class citizenship status. And they don’t want to see their daughters dying. So, it moves people,” Garza said on Inside Texas Politics. “With the fall of Roe and having this extreme view of restricting abortion that we’re seeing come out of Ken Paxton, Texans don’t want to put up with that anymore.”

According to the most recent poll “Texas Decides,” a joint effort between the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (THPF) and Tegna Texas stations WFAA, KHOU, KENS and KVUE, Republican incumbent Ken Paxton leads Garza 47% - 42% among likely voters and by 7% among the most likely (almost certain) voters (49% - 42%). 3% of both likely and most likely (almost certain) voters intend to vote for Libertarian Mark Ash.

Garza sees those numbers as an opportunity, as our poll shows her race is the closest of all statewide contests. 

And between now and election day, the Democrat says she’ll work on independent voters and try to get them to focus on Paxton’s legal troubles, including an ongoing FBI investigation over allegations of abuse of office and bribery. The Republican is also still facing felony securities fraud charges in a separate case from 2015.

We sat down with Garza in Hunt County, a deeply red county to the northeast of Dallas. But it’s also indicative of her tactic to try to win over voters outside of Democrats.

“It’s important to talk to voters everywhere and let them know that this campaign is for everyone. It’s not just about Democrat vs. Republican,” she said. “This is about the future of our state, because right now we have someone in office who puts politics over people, who puts political grandstanding over everyday folks and families.”

In terms of immigration policy, a winning issue for Republicans, Garza points to her experience as an immigration attorney and her roots in Brownsville, the southern tip of Texas.

“I know the complexities of immigration law. I know that we can combat human trafficking and gun trafficking and also treat people humanely,” said Garza.

And when it comes to another hot topic on campaign trails across the state, Garza didn’t hesitate when telling us she thinks cannabis should be legal in Texas.

“We need to make sure that we legalize it and capture those billions of dollars that will fund public schools and fund Medicaid expansion and all of the things that Texas families need,” the Democrat told us.

We’ve invited Attorney General Ken Paxton to join us on Inside Texas Politics a number of times, but his office has not responded.

The election will be held Nov. 8. Early voting starts Oct. 24. 

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