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2022 Texas Primary: Who are the Democratic candidates running for attorney general?

The top three candidates on the left are Rochelle Garza, Joe Jaworski and Lee Merritt.

TEXAS, USA — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is likely headed for a runoff on Tuesday night, the March 1 Texas Primary.

Three well-known Republicans are running against him. Inside Texas Politics interviewed each of them on our program earlier this month. Paxton declined to be interviewed.

This morning, we're doing the same for Democrats. The top three candidates on the left are Rochelle Garza, an attorney from south Texas who leads two recent polls; Joe Jaworski, a Houston attorney and former mayor of Galveston; and Lee Merritt, who has made a name for himself defending victims of police brutality.

Their interviews WFAA appear below alphabetically, with Rochelle Garza up first. 

Their interviews are followed by information on two candidates who also have entered the race but were not interviewed by WFAA.

Rochelle Garza

Rochelle Garza is leaning into her experience as an immigration attorney and border native in her run for the Democratic nomination for Texas attorney general. She grew up in Brownsville and still lives there to this day.

Garza says she would put a stop to Gov. Greg Abbott’s border wall and "Operation Lone Star," which sent National Guard troops to the border, which she said is unconstitutional.

RELATED: Democratic candidate for Texas AG Rochelle Garza highlights experience as immigration attorney

Joe Jaworski

Jaworski’s last name might sound familiar. His grandfather was Leon Jaworski, the special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal. The younger Jaworski was mayor of Galveston and is now an attorney and mediator there on the island.

Jaworski thinks he would be the candidate to attract the moderate vote come November, even attracting some GOP voters.

RELATED: Democrat Joe Jaworski shines light on executive, trial experience in run for Texas attorney general

Lee Merritt

Lee Merritt has made a name for himself over the years by representing families and victims of police brutality. George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery are among the highest profiles, recently. But Merritt wants to get into politics now.

Merritt says he would advocate for local control, allowing communities to make their own decisions, pointing specifically to mask mandates and school curriculum.

RELATED: Lee Merritt, Democratic candidate for Texas AG, highlights civil rights experience


Mike Fields

Fields, a former Republican, was a criminal court judge in Harris County for 20 years before he lost in the 2018 election to David L. Singer, a Democrat. Fields, an Austin native, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years, from 1985-1993, and was also a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney's Office before his election as a judge.

In deciding to run for attorney general, Fields on his campaign website said, "I love Texas, but I hate what I'm seeing in our politics."

"Our State needs an Attorney General who’s focused on the needs of Texas and Texans," Fields said. "Texans died during the [2021] freeze and no one has been held accountable. I believe we need an Attorney General who is committed to fighting for Texans.”

S. "T-Bone" Raynor

This will be the first election for Raynor, who does not have a campaign website and has not released any information publicly. 

2022 Texas Primary

Tuesday, March 1 is election day.

Turnout in both the Democratic and Republican primaries is not as high as it was in the last midterm election in 2018. That means that a small group of voters going to the polls has big clout. Why is turnout lower than usual? Where are all the voters? Why aren't people voting in this primary like they have in the past?

Ayan Mittra, the editor of The Texas Tribune in Austin, weighed in, saying while low turnout in a midterm election in Texas is not a surprise, it's particularly low because there's been nothing to really "galvanize a clear desire to get to the polls."

So, who's up, who's down, what will our experts be watching for on Tuesday night? Is George P. Bush's furious finish going to get him into a runoff? Why were campaign donations so low? Does Ken Paxton go into a runoff? 

Inside Texas Politics' reporter roundtable weighed in.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attacks tenure for professors

There's an update to a story we talked about last week: Patrick said he would try to end tenure for professors at the University of Texas if they taught critical race theory. The university has since pushed back. What will legislators do, and how will the governor respond?

Russia invades Ukraine

Texas Republicans condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and criticized President Biden's response. Who said what? Is it more important to their voters to bash Biden or Putin?

Watch the full episode of Inside Texas Politics below.

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