Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 25, 2013, 1:16pm

DALLAS (Legal Newsline) — Texas lawmaker Dan Branch made his bid for state attorney general official this week.

Branch, a Republican who represents the “heart of Dallas” in the state House of Representatives, announced his candidacy for the office at Southern Methodist University’s law school Tuesday.

“After much time spent in thoughtful reflection and prayer, and because I believe Texans need someone to defend our state, to fight for us, and to get results, I am asking for your vote to be the next attorney general of the great state of Texas,” said Branch, also a successful Dallas-area attorney.

“I’m running for attorney general to fight against an overreaching federal government, to fight for open and accountable government, and to preserve limited government in Texas.”

Branch has served in the Texas House since 2003. He currently serves as chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, and is a member of the Legislative Budget Board and the Calendars and Pensions committees.

“Over the last decade, I’ve helped lead the fight in the legislature to reform our civil justice system and place a choke hold on frivolous lawsuits. While some talked about it, I actually cast the tough votes to make it happen. And the results are in — our economy has expanded dramatically as a result of lawsuit reform,” Branch told supporters Tuesday.

“As your attorney general, I will fight just as hard to preserve a regulatory climate that creates jobs and clears our courts of junk lawsuits, protects our property rights and preserves our economic liberties.”

After graduating from SMU’s law school, Branch worked for the Texas Supreme Court before directing the Victory Fund of the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign in Texas.

“President Reagan inspired a generation of constitutional conservatives to pursue public office across the country. I say this because I am one,” Branch said. “For the past decade, I have tried to uphold his legacy while serving Texas — and this community — as a conservative voice in our state House.”

Branch also promised to fight against a “runaway federal government.”

“Whether defending our 1st Amendment freedoms, the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms or the 10th Amendment’s reservation of power to the states, I will exhaust all available remedies to protect Texas from attacks on our freedoms,” he said.

Branch is a graduate of the SMU Dedman School of Law and holds two undergraduate degrees from Oklahoma Christian University.

He said back in February he was considering a run for the office — but only if current Attorney General Greg Abbott decided to run for another office.

Branch got his wish.

Abbott announced last week he is running for governor, following Gov. Rick Perry’s own announcement that he would not seek another term in office.

Also running for the GOP nomination for attorney general is Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman.

Last month, Smitherman said he, too, would not run against Abbott.

Last week, the Dallas Morning News reported that former President George W. Bush gave Branch’s campaign $5,000 in June.

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