Republican AG, comptroller hopefuls square off

Dan Patrick, David Dewhurst, Todd Staples, Jerry Patterson

AUSTIN (AP) – A pair of debates are featuring 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 shared a stage first Wednesday and largely agreed on most major issues.

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

They were followed by state Sen. Glen Hegar of Katy, Kerrville state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, former state Rep. Raul Torres of Corpus Christi, and Debra Medina, a rancher and former 2010 gubernatorial candidate.

They are vying to replace Republican Comptroller Susan Combs, who’s not seeking re-election.

The Texas Business Association hosted both events at its annual conference in Austin.

Texas’ primary is March 4.

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