Texas congressman joins GOP race for attorney general

Nov 23, 2021, 5:54 AM | Updated: 1:08 pm

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has joined the crowded field of Republicans mounting primary challenges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The East Texas lawmaker is the latest prominent member of his party seeking to unseat the incumbent in the wake of Paxton’s top deputies reporting him to the FBI last year for alleged corruption. Gohmert announced his candidacy on Twitter Monday with a fundraising request that highlighted “the latest ethical, moral, and criminal allegations” against Paxton.

Despite the federal investigation and long-standing legal problems, Paxton has remained competitive in his party’s primary and won former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. The attorney general, who unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, has denied any wrongdoing. He is set to hold a fundraising dinner with Trump next month at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Gohmert, 68, has also been an ardent and controversial supporter of Trump. He’s been among the most outspoken members of Congress echoing the former president’s baseless assertions that the 2020 election was stolen. Earlier in the administration, Gohmert was one of a handful of House Republicans who called for the resignation of special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation into Russian election interference and the Trump campaign.

Gohmert has not staked out major policy differences with Paxton. Rather, he said in a video Monday that he backs many of the attorney general’s cases but that if elected he “will not wait to be my busiest until after there’s some bad press about legal improprieties.”

Also running in the Republican primary are Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and ex-state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.

State Rep. Matt Krause,who had earlier joined the primary, dropped out of the race late Monday and said he would instead run for Tarrant County district attorney.

The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general include Dallas-area civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski and Rochelle Garza, a former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union from the Rio Grande Valley.

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Texas congressman joins GOP race for attorney general