FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - As the March 1 primary approaches, the political battle is intensifying among Republicans for Texas Attorney General.
Incumbent Ken Paxton has attracted three GOP challengers: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.
During a recent interview, Guzman pointed to the fact she's the only candidate who has served on the state's highest court. "I left a job I loved on the Texas Supreme Court to step up for the state I love."
Guzman said residents are hiring the state's top lawyer. "Texans need a Texan who's been in the Texas courtrooms fighting for Texas."
Guzman, Bush, and Gohmert have all criticized Paxton's integrity.
Paxton continues to await trial on state fraud charges unrelated to his time in office as Attorney General.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The FBI is also reportedly investigating Paxton after his office's former top deputies accused him of bribery among other things.
Paxton has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Guzman said she worries that if Paxton wins the primary, he will be indicted by the feds. "He will be the weakest link and is a real liability to conservatives. On day one, I restore integrity. On day 2, I restore the staff that left after they went to the FBI to talk about Warren Kenneth Paxton and his abuse of office."
Besides expressing concerns about Paxton's character, Guzman has also criticized the way he's fought for the state in court.
She pointed to Paxton's request to the Texas legislature last February for tens of millions of dollars to fight Google in court. "The Google litigation started in the Attorney General's office, and it's moved out when we lost the staff and there's a real cost to Texans."
Paxton told lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee February 10 that no one in his office could have handled that case alone, and that his office needed to compete with Google's lawyers on a level playing field.
Guzman also criticized Paxton for losing his challenge last year of the Affordable Care Act at the US Supreme Court. "They filed that lawsuit in a way that failed to give them the only opportunity we'll probably have in this decade to challenge the Affordable Care Act."
CBS-11 reached out to the Paxton campaign requesting a response to Guzman, but his campaign did not respond.
We also emailed a spokesman in the Attorney General's Office seeking comment.
We have repeatedly requested an interview with the Attorney General but haven't heard back.
Paxton remained near 50 percent in the most recent primary poll in November, ahead of Bush and Guzman, but Gohmert wasn't in the race yet.
When it comes to fundraising, state records show Guzman brought in more than $3.6 million dollars between July 1 and December 31 last year.
That's more than the other Republican candidates.
During that same period, Paxton raised more than $2.7 million, Bush raised more than $1.9 million, and Gohmert raised more than $1 million.
Paxton's campaign reported it had more than $7.5 million cash on hand at the end of the year.
That is more than his three challengers had combined.
Bush had more than $3.1 million cash on hand, while Guzman had more than $2 million, and Gohmert had nearly $882,000 in their campaign accounts.
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