DALLAS (CBS11) – CBS11 is taking a closer look at some of the key races in the Texas primary.

One race that’s heated up is the Republican battle in State Senate District 8, which is largely in Collin County, but some of Dallas County as well.

The Republicans are well-known conservative brand-names: Angela Paxton, wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Phillip Huffines, the former Dallas County Republican Party Chairman, whose twin brother Don is a State Senator in Dallas.

On a daily basis, Angela Paxton and Phillip Huffines are bombarding each other with negative TV ads.

Huffines slams Paxton for her husband, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s $2 million loan guarantee for her campaign.

Paxton in turn knocks Huffines’ financial contributions to various Democratic lawmakers years ago. “My opponent has given thousands of dollars to liberal Democrats, who have been fighting against Conservatives.”

screen shot 2018 02 26 at 5 21 26 pm Profiling GOP Primary Candidates In State Senate District 8: Angela Paxton

Angela Paxton (CBS11)

For Paxton, this race is about her deep ties to Collin County, most of which lies in State Senate District 8. “My opponent has never lived in Collin County. He moved to Dallas County.”

Huffines says he and his family have their car dealerships in Plano and rejects Paxton’s argument.

But she insists this distinction is why she entered the race long after Huffines did. “Absolutely. It’s critical that Collin County, the sixth largest county in Texas, has a voice in the Texas Senate. We’re actually at a time when our voice needs to be more pronounced.”

For all the attack ads, both Paxton and Huffines share many of the same views. “The big issues are illegal immigration securing the border, and the ban on sanctuary cities — supporting that and then also getting a handle on our property taxes so that is we can get those down to something manageable.”

As an educator, Paxton says education is among her top priorities — and that one key way to improve schools is finding the best teachers. “Making sure we’re attracting the best and brightest, making sure we’re keeping them trained, and making sure that we’re compensating them.”

Paxton calls herself a “constitutional conservative and pro-life.”

When asked about the bathroom privacy bill that dominated much of last legislative session, but ultimately failed, Paxton said she wants to make sure school students use the same bathrooms and locker rooms as their birth gender. “I absolutely support legislation that protects our kids in schools.”

While the Paxton campaign released an internal poll showing her leaping ahead of Huffines by 15 points this month, those with knowledge of this race believe it has already tightened because of the ongoing negative ad campaigns and will remain tight headed into next Tuesday’s primary.

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson says he would give Paxton the edge, but he says he wouldn’t bet the family farm on it.

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