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Cruz to the finish line? Dallas Rep. Dan Branch joins Texas attorney general race

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Dan Branch running for Texas Attorney General
Republican Rep. Dan Branch filed paperwork November 13 to run for Texas attorney general.  Dan Branch/Facebook

He may have announced it in July, but it’s officially official now: State Rep. Dan Branch is running for Texas attorney general after filing paperwork November 13 to be placed on the Republican primary ballot.

The Dallas lawyer and six-term Texas representative has been a member of the House since 2002, but now he’s turning his attention to the spot soon to be vacated by the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, who is running for governor against Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis.

 Though winning the AG spot is certainly an important part of the campaign, this race is also a quest to see who will nab the coveted endorsement from Sen. Ted Cruz. 

Branch filed the paperwork in Austin four days after fellow Republican Ken Paxton filed his. The Republican primary on March 4 is shaping up to be a battle royale for the attorney general spot, as Branch and State Sen. Paxton go against current Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman in a three-way race.

Though winning the spot on the AG ballot is certainly an important part of the campaign, this race is also a quest to see who will nab the coveted endorsement from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Although Branch claims to have the support of Cruz's "10 legal advisers," Paxton has a thank you card on his website where supporters can thank the tea party senator for standing up for the Affordable Care Act — and shutting down the government down for 16 days.

The race for the Republican nomination should prove intense as the three candidates work to prove their conservatism to a voter base that is grappling with the future vision of the party. Expect to see the schism currently affecting the GOP on a national level play out right here in Texas as Tea Partiers attempt to move the party further to the right.

"There is one key office that stands up for the Constitution, the 10th Amendment and the right of Texas to control her own destiny: the Office of Attorney General," Branch said in a statement on his campaign website. "I plan on making the case far and wide that we need an advocate that will courageously fight against federal overreach to enable Texans the freedom to seek their own innovative solutions."

It is expected that the winner of the Republican primary will have an easy path to the attorney general seat when general elections are held November 4, 2014. The only non-Republicans to throw their hats into the ring thus far are Democratic candidate Sam Houston and Libertarian candidate Tom Glass.

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