North Texas Daily

Democratic Texas attorney general nominee Justin Nelson makes appearance in Denton

Democratic Texas attorney general nominee Justin Nelson makes appearance in Denton

Democratic Texas attorney general nominee Justin Nelson makes appearance in Denton
October 09
19:32 2018

The Democratic nominee for Texas attorney general Justin Nelson spoke from 2-3 p.m. Tuesday at the Denton County Democratic Party Headquarters to an audience of about 30 people.

The North Texas Daily spoke with Nelson over the phone following the campaign stop.

Nelson is running against incumbent Ken Paxton and said it is a disgrace that any statewide elected official is indicted for crimes.

“It’s especially unjustifiable when it’s the chief lawyer for Texas,” Nelson said.

In July 2015, Texas Attorney General Paxton was indicted by a grand jury in Collin County on two counts of felony securities fraud and one count of failing to register as an investment advisor, the latter of which Paxton admitted to breaking. In August of that year, Paxton was arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and later released on bond.

If convicted, Paxton could serve anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.

“[Paxton] has refused to defend the Texas Ethics Commission against his largest donor Empower Texas, costing taxpayers $600,000,” Nelson said. “We should demand so much more from our Texas attorney general.”

A June 2018 poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune cited Ken Paxton was supported by 32 percent of those polled, while Democratic nominee Justin Nelson was at 31 percent.

Nelson said he has a plan for his potential time as Texas attorney general that includes cracking down on opioid addiction and on pharmaceutical companies, putting more money into opioid treatment, fighting for consumers, fighting against fraud as opposed to being part of it and fighting for ethics reform throughout the state.

“Most importantly, [I want] to reorient the office, to make sure we’re fighting for everybody and not just make it a political office,” Nelson said. “And I also think we should be fighting for things like criminal justice reform.”

Nelson speaks with Denton residents at Denton County Democratic Headquarters. Courtesy Henry Kellison

Nelson is a native Texan, works as an attorney as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas and is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Nelson founded the nonprofit organization One Nation, One Vote, which has a mission to reform the electoral college and elect the president based on who receives more votes (the popular vote), instead of which candidate reaches 270 electoral votes.

Nelson said the next Texas attorney general will help determine gerrymandering and redistricting for the next 10 years so this is “a vital election.”

“I am hopeful that my election will spur some reform in Texas and to have real reform and have democracy work for everyone, regardless of party,” Nelson said.

While Nelson has never run for public office before, he said he is qualified to be the Texas attorney general.

“I’m a real lawyer,” Nelson said. “This job is to be the chief lawyer for Texas, to be the attorney general for everybody. So I think I’m actually more qualified, as someone who’s actually done the job. I think that’s what people want for the Texas attorney general.”

Sandy Swan, the executive director of the Denton County Democratic Party, said they only had about 24 hours to prepare for Nelson’s appearance.

“[Nelson] is trying to visit everywhere in the state,” Swan said. “Denton is a very important county to make sure our statewide candidates visit, and we’ve had several other visits as well.”

Swan said Denton is becoming more of a swing county compared to years past.

“We’ve got our very solid counties — like Dallas is a very solid Democratic county — and other counties are solid red, but Denton is at the border there,” Swan said.

Regarding a “blue wave” across the nation in November, Nelson said he is just trying to do his best for the office he is running for and for Texas.

Waves don’t magically appear, it’s people showing up [at the polls],” Nelson said. “I see there’s a lot of energy from Beto [O’Rourke], but what I see is people just want common sense. That’s what people want more than anything else.”

Featured Image: Democratic nominee for Texas attorney general Justin Nelson talks to attendees of his speech at the Denton County Democratic Party Headquarters on Tuesday. Courtesy Henry Kellison

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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