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*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Angela Paxton, the wife of Attorney General Ken Paxton, is running for the state Senate.
"After much prayer I’m excited to step forward with overwhelming support and encouragement from my family, long-time friends, district, regional and statewide conservative leaders, elected officials, precinct chairs and citizens from all across Senate District 8," Paxton says on a campaign website that launched Wednesday.
Paxton, a former guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, is seeking the seat in Senate District 8 that Van Taylor, R-Plano, is vacating to run for Congress. Her chief opponent is Phillip Huffines, the Dallas County GOP chairman and twin brother of state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas.
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Paxton promises to be a formidable candidate. In announcing her campaign, she said she has been endorsed by over 1,000 people. Among the elected officials supporting her are a dozen state representatives from the area — including two from Plano who had considered taking on Huffines but ultimately decided against it: Reps. Jeff Leach and Matt Shaheen. Her endorsements also include state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels.
One key issue in the race is expected to be the candidates' roots in the district, which includes a large part of Collin County. Huffines is not originally from the county, while Paxton has been a longtime resident and describes SD-8 as her "heart and home for more than 20 years." All four Collin County commissioners have endorsed Paxton.
In an email to supporters Wednesday, Paxton said she believes it is "vitally important that Senate District 8 be represented by a local voice that understands the unique opportunities and challenges confronting our community." The email also said she left her job as a guidance counselor last week so she could focus full-time on her Senate campaign.
After clearing the field of Leach and Shaheen, Huffines appeared to have a wide, open path to victory last month. But that changed on Aug. 22, when the Tribune first reported that Paxton was mulling a run.
In recent days, Huffines' campaign has been working to build support ahead of a potential Paxton run. The campaign rolled out endorsements from precinct chairs, conservative activists and top donors, including fracking billionaire Farris Wilks.
Huffines welcomed Paxton to the race in a statement.
"While many people are focused on personalities, my campaign has, and will remain, focused on the issues that voters care about like fixing illegal immigration, Obamacare, and property taxes — and stopping the growth of government," he said. "My campaign has been working hard for the last five months knocking on thousands of doors, talking to voters and earning their support. I look forward to continuing to spread my conservative message."
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