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Texas attorney general and wife went to Utah amid winter storm crisis

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton (R), traveled to Utah on Wednesday as brutal winter storms in their home state left scores dead and millions without power.

Ken Paxton’s spokesman Ian Prior told the Houston Chronicle that he left to meet with his counterpart in Utah, Attorney General Sean Reyes (R), for a "previously planned meeting" to discuss issues such as a multistate antitrust lawsuit against Google.

“While there, AG Paxton had a number of meetings with the Utah Attorney General over the course of several days,” Prior told the Chronicle. “I cannot further share additional details or the specific reasons on the need for the meeting concerning Google as it involves an ongoing investigation.”

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The spokesman also said that Paxton did not lose power at his home and did not leave the state until most households had power again. The Chronicle noted, however, that more than 2 million Texas households were still without power Wednesday evening.

Paxton is now the third Texas politician known to have left the state in the midst of widespread power outages caused by the freezing temperatures.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry DeSantis tops Trump in 2024 presidential straw poll White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE (R) received widespread condemnation for traveling to Cancun last week, claiming he had done so at the request of his young daughters. Soon after news of Cruz’s trip broke Thursday morning, he returned to Texas.

Protesters waited at Cruz’s home to greet him, calling for him to resign.

State Rep. Gary Gates (R) flew to Florida in a private jet on Wednesday after his own home lost power, the Chronicle reported. Gates has responded by saying his decision was motivated by his family, noting that his pipes burst and 30 percent of his home was flooded, endangering his daughter and sick wife.

“My wife is still recovering from an illness she has been battling for two weeks, and the room of my adult daughter, who is mentally handicapped and still lives with us, flooded,” Gates reportedly said.

Paxton last week launched an investigation into Texas's main power operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the Chronicle noted, saying he would look into its “mishandling of this week’s extreme winter weather.”

Texas officials have faced broad scrutiny for their preparations before and handling of the extreme winter weather, which led to a federal disaster declaration.