Republican AG, comptroller hopefuls square off

WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A pair of debates feature Republican contenders for two powerful — but often little-publicized — statewide offices.

State Rep. Dan Branch, of Dallas, McKinney state Sen. Ken Paxton and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman will share a stage first Wednesday.

The trio is competing for the GOP nomination to replace Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is now running for governor.

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They will be followed by state Sen. Glen Hegar of Katy, Kerrville state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran and Debra Medina, a rancher who was a strong third-party candidate for governor in 2010.

Those three are vying to replace Republican Comptroller Susan Combs, who is not seeking re-election.

The powerful lobbying group the Texas Business Association is hosting both events at its annual conference in Austin.

Texas’ primary is March 4.

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