Mexia News Editorial: Time for Paxton to go

“I think everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”
Those were the words of Gov. Greg Abbott when asked Monday about the indictments against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
That is a fair and true statement, though we know some people are more innocent than others until proven guilty.
The issue today shouldn't be whether Paxton is guilty in a legal sense and should go to jail. The issue today is whether he is fit to serve as the attorney for Texas. The answer to that question is no.
There should be a higher bar for serving in our highest elected legal position than whether someone is convicted of a felony. Should it really take a prison term to unseat the attorney general?
Paxton has been charged with three felony counts of securities law violations. The charges stem from a long-running saga he has already admitted to making “mistakes” over, that eventually led to criminal indictments.
Americans usually look at criminal charges or allegations against politicians through a very partisan lens. Both sides – Democrats and Republicans – are quick to pounce at the first sign of wrongdoing.
But a recent poll of likely Republican voters showed that even 62 percent of those affiliated with Paxton's own party believe he should resign. When a politician's own supporters think it is time to go, it is time to go.
He can mask the issue with his blustery rants against federal government encroachment and judicial overreach. He can divert attention with investigations of Planned Parenthood, but he certainly has no interest in waiting to see if Planned Parenthood is guilty of the crimes it is accused of before trying to shut it down. Why the double standard?
Paxton gets the benefit of not sitting in jail until his trial. He has the benefit of not having an employer who might fire him as he awaits trial. If he emerges unscathed, then let him run again as the guy wrongly accused who only wants to serve his state. Until then, though, he is the man of questionable actions who is not fit to represent Texas.