Impeachment proceedings for Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton are set for 1 p.m. Saturday in the Texas House of Representatives.
Political experts Friday said Republican support for Paxton may be weakening, while some boosters in his home community of Collin County plan a Memorial Day rally to support him.
The house committee investigating Paxton said it found a long pattern of dereliction of duty.
As the Memorial Day holiday weekend began in the Collin County seat of McKinney Friday, some people were talking about Paxton.
Paxton supporter John Gatz said the process against Paxton is moving too fast.
“He’s done a lot of great things for the state of Texas throughout his entire career and they’ve been chasing him for years now,” Gatz said. “You can’t persecute a guy based on comments and innuendo.”
Critic Michelle Wright said action against Paxton is overdue.
“If there’s some trouble that interferes with your job, and you’re using your job to your own advantage, or someone else’s advantage, you need to move on,” Wright said.
At a press conference Friday, Paxton said the impeachment effort violates the will of the voters and that he was denied the opportunity to present evidence that contradicts politically motivated attacks on him.
Dallas Morning News political writer Gromer Jeffers is co-host of NBC 5’s Sunday Lone Star Politics show.
“From his first campaign for Attorney General until now he has been saddled with legal problems,” Jeffers said. “He’s been a fighter for most of his political career, but this of course is the biggest fight of his life.”
The Texas House Committee began investigating Paxton after taxpayers were asked to pay a $3.3 million settlement with former employees who said they were whistleblowers about bribery and other improprieties.
Many of the same issues were thought to be topics of an FBI investigation which has produced no public results.
Southern Methodist University Political Science Professor Cal Jillson said the impeachment proceedings are a test of Texas Republican loyalty.
“Are you going to stand with a guy who you have stood with historically, in the face of this presentation of continuous evidence of wrongdoing,” Jillson said. “It is very difficult to make the argument that my own people, Republican majority of the Texas House, have looked at me and concluded I need to be impeached, and it’s all just a hoax, a political vendetta.”
Also from Collin County is Ken Paxton’s wife Angela, now a Texas State Senator in the seat Ken Paxton left to become Attorney General.
The political experts said Angela Paxton must consider stepping aside from voting if impeachment reaches the Texas Senate.
“This is going to be drama of a high order that we haven’t seen in Texas in a century,” Jillson said.
As events unfold in Austin, the Memorial Day rally for Paxton is set for 11 a.m. at the Collin County Courthouse, 2100 Bloomdale Road in McKinney.