House Justice

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, questions Attorney General Merrick Garland on Oct. 21 as he testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

After announcing he was considering a run for Texas attorney general earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert said Monday he will challenge incumbent Ken Paxton in the March Republican primary.

Gohmert, R-Tyler, announced his plans to explore a campaign for attorney general on Nov. 9 during an event and through a campaign website. He delivered his official announcement on Monday night just before 8 p.m. via a YouTube video.

With the website (gohmert.net), Gohmert asked for 10,000 people to send $100 each by Nov. 19 to reach $1 million. The website said, “that amount to start with will allow a state-wide campaign to have a chance.”

“It’s my honor to let you know that we’ve reached our initial goal of raising $1 million in order to start a run for Texas attorney general,” Gohmert said in the video, thanking donors for allowing a “proper start” to the campaign but noting more funds will be needed.

If elected, Gohmert said he will start “boldly protecting” Texans’ rights on Day 1.

“Unconstitutional mandates will not be tolerated from anyone,” he said. “Parental consent is still an important concept in America, and especially in Texas.”

Gohmert said one priority of his will be to secure the state’s southern border, adding “the invasion has to stop.”

Another top focus will be election integrity, he said, “so that every legal vote counts.”

“Changing voting laws by anyone but the legislature is also unconstitutional,” Gohmert said. “Our AG (Ken Paxton) was suing other states, as I would have, but he failed to ensure Texas abided by the same constitutional provisions that he was suing the other states for violating.”

Earlier this month, the Texas Ethics Commission said it had received a new campaign treasurer appointment from Gohmert for an attorney general run, according to the Texas Tribune.

Gohmert has served in the U.S. House representing the First Congressional District — which includes Kilgore, Tyler and other area cities — since 2005.

The website noted that Paxton has been accused of bribery by some of his office’s employees.

“We need a Texas Attorney General whose top attorneys working for him have not found it necessary to send a letter to the FBI urging an investigation into corruption of their boss,” the website stated. “This is not at all like Obama loyalists working in the Trump administration who worked to get rid of Republican President Trump. It is true that the current Texas Attorney General filed some popular Republican-favored lawsuits, especially in the last year after the latest ethical, moral, and criminal allegations against him arose from his top staff.”

Other Republican candidates who have officially announced a challenge against Paxton in the primary, include Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, state Rep. Matt Krause and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Democratic challengers are Rochelle Garza, former attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union; Joe Jaworski, attorney, mediator, and former mayor of Galveston; and Lee Merritt, civil rights attorney.

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