AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- The GOP race for Texas attorney general got a little more crowded last week.

On Thursday, state Sen. Ken Paxton officially announced he is running to be the state's next top lawyer.

"It's time for another leader, a proven conservative to follow in General Greg Abbott's footsteps," Paxton said in a statement.

"That is why, today -- here in front of family, friends, fellow Republicans, Tea Party Patriots, and dedicated conservatives -- I am announcing my candidacy for attorney general of the great state of Texas."

Earlier in the week, Paxton sent an email to his "closest campaign friends" saying he would be making an "important announcement concerning my future plans in public service" at the Plano Centre Thursday evening.

Though he did not explicitly say he planned to run for attorney general, Paxton alluded to it.

"To ensure Texas remains a bastion of freedom and liberty, it is critical that the next attorney general continues the fight against Barack Obama, Eric Holder and the entire federal government, which is targeting Texas and our way of life," he wrote in the email.

Paxton joins state Rep. Dan Branch and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman in running for the Republican nomination.

Abbott is running for governor, following Gov. Rick Perry's own announcement that he would not seek another term in office.

Paxton, a practicing attorney from McKinney, was first elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving five terms in the House of Representatives.

The GOP primary for all statewide offices is March 4.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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