Civil rights attorney Lee Meritt has formally announced his candidacy for attorney general of Texas, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Merrit will face off in the Democratic primary against Joe Jaworski, former mayor of Galveston whose also a lawyer, with the hopes of unseating the Republican incumbent Ken Paxton.

Other Republicans, including Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, are also challenging Paxton.

If elected, Merritt would be the first Black attorney general in the history of Texas and the first Democrat since former Attorney General Dan Morales won reelection in 1994. 

Back in March, Merritt said he would run for attorney general but would make the official announcement at a later date, as Blavity previously reported.

“Texas Republicans have launched an all-out assault on voter rights and civil liberties,” Merritt said in a message on Twitter. “General Paxton, Governor Abbott and the Republican-dominated Texas legislature are blatantly attempting to turn back progress in the Lone Star State using the familiar tactics of voter suppression, divisive rhetoric and corporate money.”

Merritt said that the state of Texas deserves leaders who put the interest of their constituents first.

“We are fighting for an executive branch in Texas that serves the needs of all its citizens and not just the elite. It’s our turn,” he added.

The Real Justice PAC, an organization that supports progressive prosecutors who advocate for equal justice, announced their endorsement of Merritt, Newsweek reports.

“America has never had an Attorney General like Lee Merritt. Lee is a civil rights attorney who has worked for years on the frontlines of ending police violence by representing families killed by cops," the PAC’s statement read.

"He knows the impacts of our injustice system firsthand and as AG, will fight to hold police accountable, reduce incarceration, support crime survivors, and invest in a non-violent approach to confronting mental health,” the statement continued.

The announcement of Merritt is coming at a time of political upheaval in Texas. On Monday, Democrats left the state in protest of the GOP’s restrictions on voting. Additionally, Gov. Greg Abbot passed a bill that places limits on how teachers teach racism in public schools, as Blavity previously reported. 

Merritt has gained national attention for representing the families of Black people killed by police. Recently, he served as co-counsel for George Floyd’s family and provided legal counsel to the family of Botham Jean, the Dallas man shot dead by an off-duty cop in his apartment in 2018.