“I have sued Obama 7X and am the only candidate 4 attorney general who’s a proven prosecutor! Help me secure our Texas border.”
That is a tweet from Barry Smitherman, one of the Republican candidates for Texas attorney general who’s seeking to succeed Greg Abbott, the presumptive GOP favorite for the party’s gubernatorial nomination.
I have been awaiting this kind of chest-thumping, which if you consider the nature of the office, is quite irrelevant.
Smitherman is a smart guy who happens to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that regulates the state’s oil-and-natural-gas industry. He also appears to be running for attorney general in the Jim Mattox mold of Texas grandstander.
The attorney general essentially is the state’s top lawyer, representing the state’s interest in litigation. Say, the state is taken to court. The AG’s office represents the state in the courtroom. The state does not “prosecute” bad guys. That task is left to district attorneys who are elected by county voters.
Why the Mattox comparison? Well, Mattox was the former Democratic attorney general who traipsed around a crime scene in Mexico vowing to capture and prosecute the individuals responsible for murdering a University of Texas student in the late 1980s.
Mattox had no business making the that pledge, just as Smitherman’s prosecutorial experience really doesn’t matter in the race for attorney general.