If you follow Texas politics, you've heard the news: Republican Greg Abbott's running for Governor. That leaves his former seat open, clearing the way for the first competitive primary race for Attorney General since … well, you have to go all the way back to 1998.
Three prominent Republicans have stepped up to the plate: State Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney, Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, and, in our studios today, State Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas.
First elected to the Texas House in 2002, Branch has been practicing law for nearly three decades, launching his own highly successful firm.
Branch has characterized the Attorney General's office as the biggest law firm in the state, and his run as a bid to become "managing partner." Although Abbott has (half?) joked that he used to wake up each day and try to figure out how next to sue the Obama administration, Branch says he's ready to one-up his predecessor if elected by taking on what he sees as the 'top issue' facing Texas: encroachment of the federal government.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Texas Standard host David Brown, Branch talks about the politics of state sovereignty, Ted Nugent, the importance of the A.G.'s "opinion power," the legacy of Greg Abbott and more.
Growing up in San Antonio, Branch says his parents nurtured his interest in politics by allowing him to stay up late on election nights watching the returns come in.
No doubt he'll be glued to the results Tuesday night as primary results are tallied. Of course, KUT will have complete coverage throughout the night of March. 4, both on-air at 90.5 and right here at KUT.org.