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Texas News

If Texas Attorney General Resigns, What Happens Next?

Recently a new poll that found the majority of Texas Republicans, even Tea Party Republicans, think Attorney General Ken Paxton should resign. Paxton was indicted earlier this month on three felony counts. But if he does resign, what happens next? KUT's Ben Philpott reports.
 

While Paxton's political career and the outcome of his legal woes are still up in the air, what happens if he resigns is pretty clearly defined. The Texas constitution gives the governor, in this case Greg Abbott, the authority to appoint a replacement.
 
Jim Henson heads up the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
 
"And it's pretty straight forward," Henson says. "If the Senate is not in session, the appointment essentially sails through and functions according to the governor's proclamation. So the governor will make an appointment and the person will fill that vacancy fairly quickly." 
 
If the Legislature is in town, the Senate gets to confirm the appointment.
 
But we're getting ahead of ourselves on this. Paxton has done nothing to make people think he might step down, even with only lukewarm support from Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick since his indictment.
 
This recent poll could up the pressure on the state's top Republicans to encourage Paxton to resign.