Louie Gohmert Says He Just Might Want To Be Texas' Next Attorney General

Louie Gohmert announced he's possibly running for Texas attorney general Tuesday. Only two weeks ago, Gohmert was identified as one of the lawmakers who met with Capitol insurrection organizers before Jan. 6.
Louie Gohmert announced he's possibly running for Texas attorney general Tuesday. Only two weeks ago, Gohmert was identified as one of the lawmakers who met with Capitol insurrection organizers before Jan. 6. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Of course he does.

After all, It’s only been a couple weeks since Rolling Stone reported that Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert was among a gaggle of GOP lawmakers allegedly meeting in secret with the organizers of the Jan. 6 insurrection. (Gohmert has dismissed the allegations as false.)

But when you're Louie Gohmert and you stand accused of helping plan an unprecedented assault on the rule of law, there's only one thing left to do: explore a run for Texas’ top law enforcement office, obviously.

Sure enough, the East Texan announced his plans to look into a run for Texas attorney general of Texas in Tyler on Tuesday, the Texas Tribune reported.

Even the announcement itself was graced by classic Gohmert-style dysfunction: According to the Tribune, he set up to announce his possible candidacy via a livestream that didn’t work, while a website announcing the possible bid went live around the same time. (Meanwhile, the Texas Ethics Commission received paperwork from Gohmert normally filed when candidates formally commit to running for the office.)

You'd probably expect nothing less from the man who voted against a federal anti-lynching bill (one of only four House representatives to do so); who called “migrant rapists” an “existential threat” to the U.S.; who suggested messing around with Earth’s orbit around the sun to fight global warming.

“It would all be comical, except for the fact that it’s extremely dangerous,” said Olivia Troye, director of the Republican Accountability Project, a conservative group opposing former President Donald Trump and his followers.

Both Gohmert and current Attorney General Ken Paxton are Trump loyalists whose policies align with the farthest-right factions of the Republican Party.

But Paxton’s reelection campaign has been dogged by a federal corruption probe and a years-old securities fraud charge. Troye said Gohmert may be entering the race hoping to pick up Paxton’s base of support if the embattled attorney general becomes ineligible to run because of developments in these investigations.

Gohmert implied during his announcement that Paxton might not be available to take office because of his legal problems. "We've got to have an attorney general that's undistracted by moral and legal issues of his own and who can get elected a year from now," Gohmert said in a video of Tuesday’s event.

Troye worries that Paxton's potential downfall could clear a lane for Gohmert in the primary, in which case she says Texas could be in for trouble. “I am concerned about what it would mean in Texas going forward to have someone like Louie Gohmert, who has been a big proponent of The Big Lie, who exhibits complete disregard for the rule of law and for our democracy,” she said.

Gohmert’s office didn't respond to requests for comment.

Even if Paxton’s campaign ends up crumbling, though, Gohmert would still be facing a crowded path to the AG’s office. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush; Matt Krause, a Fort Worth state representative; and Eva Guzman, a former state Supreme Court justice, have already been vying to oust Paxton for the Republican nomination for weeks.

Not all conservatives are as concerned as Troye about a potential Gohmert candidacy.

"It’s energizing to see so many Republican candidates put their hat in the ring for one of the most important statewide races Texans will vote on in 2022," said Genevieve Carter, communications director for the Texas Young Republicans.

"We believe in letting Texans run Texas, and it’s critical that we have a strong, conservative attorney general to push back on the Biden administration’s overreach and damaging policies and protect the freedoms and way of life we hold dear in Texas,” Carter said. 

Gohmert told supporters Tuesday that he’d only run if he raises $1 million by Nov. 19. Funds will go toward his reelection campaign in the House if he fails to reach that threshold.
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Michael Murney is a reporting fellow at the Dallas Observer and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. His reporting has appeared in Chicago’s South Side Weekly and the Chicago Reader.
Contact: Michael Murney