SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Former Texas Twelfth Court of Appeals justice Sam Griffith has announced that he will be running to replace Nathaniel Moran as Smith County Judge.

Griffith has now joined the fray of people vying for new positions in the East Texas political realm, with Rep. Louie Gohmert leaving his position in Congress to run for Texas Attorney General and County Judge Nathaniel Moran leaving his position to run for Gohmert’s seat. Griffith already faces an opponent in his race for County Judge with County Commissioner Neal Franklin already having announced his candidacy for the position.

Griffith is a Smith County native and has lived in the area for most of his life. He served as a justice for the Texas Twelfth Court of Appeals for more than 15 years before retiring in 2015. He ran for the office a total of three times, twice unopposed. Nowadays, he still owns and operates the family farm that he grew up on in Starrville.

Since his retirement in 2015, Griffith has been traveling to help impoverished communities around the world, working with organizations like EATBETA (Evangelizing Africa Through Business Empowerment and Transforming Agriculture) where he helped Ugandans find their own access to clean water and Mercy Works, who he went with to Nepal to rebuild homes that were destroyed by a massive earthquake.

Griffith also co-founded the Texas Minority Coalition in 2018, which is a coalition of Black, Hispanic and white Christian conservatives dedicated to promoting Faith, Family and Freedom, according to his bio.

Before being elected to the appellate court in 2000, Griffith worked as a trial lawyer for a decade, earning two board certifications from the Texas State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization. Before that, he was a briefing attorney at the Twelfth Court of Appeals, which is, ironically, the same court he would later serve on as a justice.

Griffith has also published two novels, “MacClinton: A Parody of MacBeth, The Tragedy of the Clintons” and “Rendezvous With Death.” The former book is political satire aimed at the Clinton family and the latter book is a detective novel that takes place in East Texas. In his bio, Griffith says he is in the process of publishing more original works.