Perhaps nowhere will the fallout from the Paxton trial be felt more than in Collin County.
It’s pitted two Republican political heavyweights against each other: Ken Paxton who lives in McKinney and State Representative Jeff Leach of Allen who delivered passionate closing remarks against his friend turned foe.
“I have loved Ken Paxton for a long time,” said Rep. Leach who had the last word of the trial.
He said Paxton is unfit for office and urged senators to convict him.
“My dear friend, a political mentor, brother in Christ and a once trusted advisor, this has not just been a hard vote, this has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Rep. Leach said holding back tears.
Rep. Leach was on the House Board of Managers charged with handling Paxton’s prosecution.
“I’m getting calls about why is this specific representative doing this,” said Abraham George, Chairman of the Collin County Republican Party.
Rep. Leach, who’s represented House District 67 since 2013, could seek re-election in 2024.
George says the Collin County Republican Party typically doesn’t take sides when it comes to candidates in the primaries.
This time, he says, it may not be that easy.
“It’s a problem. It’s an issue for Republicans here in Collin County. The establishment Republicans usually go against the grassroots and this is probably one of those places where the party will have to take a stand on,” said George.
The issue is going to be a hotly-contested one in the republican primaries in Collin County, says Scott Braddock, editor of QuorumReport.com.
“Republicans in Collin County are rock red conservative and it’s fascinating to watch this play out where you have one of those very conservative lawmakers who’s now on the opposite side of the attorney general,” said Braddock.
In a statement, the Collin County Democratic Party said:
“We listened to Representative Jeff Leach’s impassioned speech today as one of the closing house impeachment managers. It was clear by his carefully crafted words that he took no pleasure in having to impeach someone he considered a dear friend. He even laid out how he gave the attorney general twelve different opportunities to come before committees and answer questions. Paxton chose to ignore those opportunities for transparency. Paxton’s behavior, in addition to the evidence provided by the whistleblowers made of Paxton’s top staff, guided Leach to join the overwhelming majority of the Texas House of Representatives to impeach.
While we are pleased to finally see some accountability from a Collin County Republican with Representative Leach’s words and actions, however, we are not getting any sense of any major shakeup for the party itself. If you listen to the statements made by the Collin County Republican Party, they have never been in support of a fair and impartial trial, and automatically dismissed all charges against Paxton before any evidence was ever presented. The CCRP has reposted many posts from the twice-impeached, former president Trump, calling anyone who is standing against the alleged corruption and is seeking the truth about Paxton’s actions, a ‘RINO’ and that Trump will ‘FIGHT any Republican who supported Paxton’s impeachment.’ It appears that rather than consider the evidence, they made up their minds to look the other way.
The Collin County Democratic Party will always stand up and support the rule of law for all Texans and all Americans. We hope the Texas Senate can act as impartial jurors while reviewing the facts of the case, and can render a just verdict for all Texans.”
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