ARGYLE, Texas — His famous name shadows George P. Bush, the only member of the dynastic political clan now in public office, as he enters the final days of an uphill campaign to unseat Texas’ attorney general.
To some Texans, the Bush family name is a badge of integrity, harking back to a bygone era of rectitude and respectful political debate. To others, it is the disqualifying mark of a Republican old guard that failed the party and betrayed its last president, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Bush would like to make the campaign about the two-term Republican incumbent, Ken Paxton, whose serious legal troubles — including an indictment on securities fraud charges and a continuing federal corruption investigation — prompted high-profile Republicans to take him on in the primary. Mr. Bush made it to a runoff with Mr. Paxton that takes place on Tuesday.
A few years ago, Mr. Bush, whose mother is from Mexico and whose father was the governor of Florida, might have won the race handily, his aides believe, and then been held up as a prominent example of a new, more diverse generation of Republicans.
a campaign beer koozie that his campaign handed out last year, quoting Mr. Trump: “This is the Bush that got it right. I like him,” it says, beneath a line drawing of Mr. Trump shaking Mr. Bush’s hand.
The effort did not pay off. Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Paxton, who had filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the 2020 election and had appeared with Mr. Trump at his rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, before members of the crowd stormed the Capitol.
over his handling of the Alamo in San Antonio. Ms. Lightfoot said the Bush family and the party establishment were “trying to stuff him down our throats because of his Latino heritage.”
For all that the family’s importance may have faded among Texas Republicans, Mr. Bush may still emerge victorious in the runoff. A poll this month had Mr. Paxton’s support at less than 50 percent, and Mr. Bush trailing him by only a few percentage points. Donors have pumped new money into Mr. Bush’s campaign in the final stretch, hoping to push him over the top.
Mr. Bush has tried to refine and target his attacks on Mr. Paxton in recent weeks, after his campaign’s internal polling suggested that earlier efforts were hurting his own standing along with Mr. Paxton’s. And Mr. Bush has proudly invoked his family, both in a closing-message political ad and while speaking to audiences that might be unimpressed with the Bush name.
“It’s all about ethics,” Mr. Bush told a gathering of Republican women this month in Argyle, a town in the rapidly growing, largely Republican suburbs of Fort Worth. “When people say the last thing we need is another Bush, my response is, this is precisely the time that we need a Bush.”
As he barnstorms the state, Mr. Bush, 46, is invariably asked about his relatives, told about some fond memory of them, or challenged to reiterate his loyalty to Mr. Trump.
After the event in Argyle, a man in a cowboy hat waited outside for Mr. Bush to emerge so he could confront the candidate.
“Would you support for president the Republican nominee, even if it is Trump in 2024?” the man asked.