This should’ve been an easy and straightforward process. A group of non-profit organizations have filed a lawsuit related to helping Texans pay for out-of-state abortions. As part of the case, a process server named Ernesto Martin Herrera went to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s home to hand him a subpoena for a federal court hearing.
And that’s when things apparently got a little weird. The Texas Tribune reported that Paxton, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by the process server, literally fled his home.
When Herrera arrived at Paxton’s home in McKinney on Monday morning, he told a woman who identified herself as Angela that he was trying to deliver legal documents to the attorney general. She told him that Paxton was on the phone and unable to come to the door. Herrera said he would wait. Nearly an hour later, a black Chevrolet Tahoe pulled into the driveway, and 20 minutes after that, Ken Paxton exited the house.
“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name. As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage,” Herrera wrote in the sworn affidavit.
According to the process server’s version of events, the state attorney general’s wife, Republican state Sen. Angela Paxton, exited the house, got inside a truck in the driveway, started it, and opened the doors.
“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” Herrera wrote. “I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck.”
The Texas Tribune report added that the process server eventually placed the documents on the ground near the truck and told Paxton he was serving him with a subpoena.
For his part, the Texas Republican tried to argue last night that he was avoiding a “stranger lingering outside” his home and fled for his safety.
This is a little hard to believe. For one thing, the process server told Paxton’s wife why he was there. For another, Herrera made clear to Paxton why he was there. While we’re at it, if Paxton were genuinely concerned about the process server possibly posing a threat, why would he send his wife out to start the truck?
Let’s also note that if Texas’ attorney general was concerned about a possible trespasser at his home, he could’ve called local law enforcement, and officers probably would’ve arrived pretty quickly.
What we have instead is a situation in which Paxton was apparently trying to avoid a process server.
Complicating matters, of course, is the fact that this alleged incident is merely the latest in a series of legal troubles surrounding the Texas attorney general. As regular readers know, the Republican was already under indictment on felony securities fraud charges when members of his own team made multiple criminal allegations against him in October 2020.
A couple of months later, FBI agents arrived at Paxton’s door — as a rule, that’s not a good sign for any politician — and in the months that followed, the Texan faced unpleasant scrutiny from a Texas district attorney’s office. More recently, the State Bar of Texas targeted Paxton for having filed bogus anti-election litigation.
Now, evidently, he’s been reduced to fleeing his home to avoid a process server, too.
Circling back to our earlier coverage, common sense might lead one to believe that there’s simply no way an incumbent facing such circumstances could run and win a re-election campaign. Indeed, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush — a member of a once-powerful family in the Lone Star State — saw the attorney general as vulnerable and launched a primary campaign.
He’ll still have to compete in a general election, of course, and Paxton’s re-election bid four years ago was fairly close. That said, Texas is still a red state, and by most measures, Paxton is favored to win a third term.