Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, a staunch Trump ally, made it official on Monday: He’s joining the crowded primary to unseat GOP incumbent Ken Paxton for state attorney general.
The congressman announced earlier this month that he was exploring a late entry, basing his decision on whether he could raise $1 million in 10 days. He said on Monday that he’d reached that goal.
“A priority will be election integrity so that every legal vote counts. Though our current AG has had two terms — it seems he really started working harder after so many of his most honorable and very top people in the AG’s office left, complaining of criminal conduct. If you allow me, I will not wait to be my busiest until after some bad press about legal improprieties. I’ll start boldly protecting your rights on day one,” Gohmert said, listing priorities like “unconstitutional mandates,” “parental consent,” immigration at the southern border and voting laws.
Gohmert, one of the most far-right Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation, will also be up against Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and state Rep. Matt Krause for the Republican nomination next year.
It’s sure to be a competitive, brutal election, with former President Donald Trump endorsing Paxton for reelection this past summer, even as the incumbent faces a criminal indictment on fraud charges and a separate FBI corruption investigation. Trump placed his bets on Paxton, who has strong MAGA credentials, over Bush — grandson and nephew of two former presidents, and the last remaining member of the political dynasty in public office. The move was yet another sign of the former president’s antipathy for three generations of Bushes.
A few Democrats are also battling it out for the role: former Galveston mayor Joe Jaworski, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt and former ACLU lawyer Rochelle Garza. In response to the news of a potential Gohmert run a couple of weeks back, the Democratic Attorneys General Association said the primary was “turning into a Texas-sized embarrassment for the Republican Party,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Gohmert, a Trump loyalist, filed a lawsuit asking then-Vice President Mike Pence to challenge Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. A federal court tossed the suit.
“Basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and [Black Lives Matter],” Gohmert said in an interview with Newsmax after the ruling.
Days later, a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, clashing with police officers in the halls of the Capitol. Gohmert condemned the violence that day, though he never connected his own rhetoric to the events of Jan. 6.