Politico Magazine Spotlights Texas Democratic AG Nominee Rochelle Garza

October 24, 2022

DAGA Executive Director Says Garza is “The Right Candidate at the Right Time”

Washington, DC — Today, Politico Magazine highlighted the tight Texas Attorney General race as Brownsville native and Democratic AG candidate Rochelle Garza is set to face off against criminally indicted AG Ken Paxton in November. Dana Liebelson sat down for an interview with Garza to talk about how she’s the right candidate for Texas, and if elected, she would use the Attorney General’s office to protect reproductive rights.

“Garza, a former ACLU attorney and a Democrat who grew up in the Valley, is running for Texas attorney general against Republican incumbent Ken Paxton, a powerful political figure known for his intense allyship with Donald Trump. No Democrat has won the state attorney general race since 1994. But the mood that August night was sunny. Her campaign had been recently buoyed by a Dallas Morning News-UT-Tyler poll showing her within two points of Paxton, while fellow Democrat Beto O’Rourke trailed in his gubernatorial race by seven. All at once, a relatively unknown candidate from south Texas looked like she had a shot at winning.”

“But despite his national profile, among the top statewide incumbents in Texas, Paxton has generally been viewed as the most beatable: Polls released in September placed Garza between three and eight points of Paxton — equal or closer than O’Rourke’s margins with Abbott.”

“Paxton has used the AG’s office to oppose abortion in even the most extreme circumstances, while Garza, who as a lawyer represented teens seeking abortion care, wants abortion to be legal and has unabashedly centered the issue in her campaign since the primary.”

Politico continues, “Garza, if she wins, has pledged to use her office to protect reproductive rights. She said she would withdraw from Paxton’s lawsuit against the Biden administration. And she would not prosecute ‘people who have abortions, nor anyone who helps a loved one have an abortion, including doctors,’ she wrote in an email in response to my question seeking clarification about whether she would pursue the minimum-$100K civil penalties against physicians that provide abortions under the state’s trigger law.”

“When Garza campaigns across Texas — she has visited cities such as Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, border towns like Del Rio and Alamo, and more conservative areas including Waxahachie and Hunt County, according to a campaign list — she talks openly about abortion. She frames it as a matter of gender equity but also focuses on pregnant people whose health is at risk, a point that could appeal to conservative-leaning women who might oppose abortion in other cases. Paxton’s policies, she tells voters, not only limit reproductive freedom — they could kill you. (Garza was leading Paxton among likely women voters by five points, according to a University of Houston/Texas Southern University poll, though the Texas Politics Project poll found Paxton ahead by four.)”

“Being from the Valley, like Garza is, ‘brings out different voters,’ said Michelle Ortiz, executive director of the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Even her last name ‘carries a lot of weight with those who have been most impacted by some of the harmful laws that have passed in Texas.’”

“Earlier in our conversation, she told me that she felt the electorate had already changed as a result of the Dobbs decision and pointed to new voters who’ve registered because of it. (They recently touted an October poll showing Garza behind by two points.) I observed that, living in Texas, it was still hard to avoid the intense skepticism about a Democrat winning statewide. What was different now? ‘You know, I see that Rochelle is the right candidate at the right time,’ she said.”


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