Meet the Democrats looking to unseat AG Ken Paxton

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Three Republicans seek to win their party's nomination, but now five Democrats are running to unseat Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The Democratic candidates include a former mayor, a pair of civil rights lawyers, and a former judge. They all told ABC13 that they think the time is right to win the attorney general's seat and lead Texas in a new direction.

Joe Jaworski, the former mayor of Galveston and third-generation Texas lawyer, told ABC13 he is the best choice to replace current Republican Paxton. Jaworski said his top priority is helping Texas consumers.

"It's all about integrity, and it's all about love for my state," he said. "The attorney general should be filing consumer protection litigation for all Texans; Republicans, Democrats, Independents, for example, taking a stand so that health insurance pays claims timely and reasonably."

Mike Fields, another Democrat running for the nomination, is a former employee at the attorney general's office and a retired judge. Fields said he wants to bring back moderation and common sense to state politics.

Instead of fundraising, Fields is self-financing his campaign.

"We have to make sure our social policies are with our economic goals," he said. "Texas has the ninth-largest economy in the world, and social issues lead into economic issues."

Fields wants to bring the political conversation from the extreme to the moderate. When ABC13 asked him if a moderate can win, Fields said, "They can certainly govern. Can they win? I hope so. Otherwise, this is all folly."

Let's keep in mind, there are also four Republicans running for the nomination.

Three of them are challengers to Paxton, who is under indictment for multiple security-related crimes and is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation into abuse of office and bribery. All of the republicans bring up restoring integrity to the office, as do the Democrats with whom we spoke on Wednesday.

SEE RELATED STORY: Ken Paxton violated law and must release records related to Jan. 6 rally, district attorney says

"There has been a historic assault on civil liberties in Texas. It's been amplified with the current attorney general," said Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney.

Merritt said he believes the single biggest issue is ensuring all Texans have the right and ability to vote.

"A pivotal moment in the state of Texas," Merritt said. "Texas is changing, and we've seen a unique backlash in response to that change. The essential components of our democracy are at stake, starting with the right to vote."

This may be the Democrat's best chance at winning its first statewide office since 1994. Five democrats are hoping they are the nominee after March 1.

Also running as a Democrat is civil rights attorney Rochelle Garza. She has worked in both immigration and family law. In a UH Hobby School survey released at the end of January, she narrowly lead the field with more than half of Democrat primary voters undecided.

"My number one issue is fighting for Texas families," Garza told ABC13. "We didn't see any accountability with regards to what happened with our power grid. There has been a lag in consumer protections for Texans."

The primary election is March 1, and early voting starts on Feb. 14.

SEE RELATED: What to know about changes for mail-in ballots after Senate Bill 1 was signed into law

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