TYLER, Texas (KETK) – East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who has represented the Piney Woods in Washington for nearly 16 years, officially announced Monday he will be challenging Attorney General Ken Paxton in the Republican primary.

Rep. Gohmert made the announcement his Twitter page while simultaneously interviewing live on Newsmax TV.

“Texas I am officially running to be your next Attorney General and will enforce the rule of law,” said Gohmert on Twitter.

See the congressman’s announcement in the video below:

“It’s my honor to let you know that we reached our initial goal of raising $1 million dollars in order to start a run for Texas Attorney General. So, I will be filing to run for Texas Attorney General,” said Gohmert. “A priority will be election integrity so that every legal vote counts.”

Rep. Gohmert told KETK News in an interview nearly two weeks ago that he had concerns about Paxton running for office, given the FBI investigation into his office on bribery accusations and being under indictment for securities fraud since 2015.

Gohmert also doubted that Paxton could beat out a Democrat in the general election in 2022. Back in 2018, Paxton barely edged out a win with 50.6% of the vote.

“I am extremely concerned that our attorney general wins– and I’m aware of what’s gone on and some of the fine people that have filed referral to the FBI– that they’ll wait and indict him after the primary. Then you can’t change who’s on the general election form.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Gohmert had said he needed to raise $1 million by Nov. 19 or else he would not pursue the office. The Republican primary is already full of candidates challenging Paxton, including:

  • Land Commissioner George P. Bush
  • Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman
  • GOP Rep. Matt Krause

With Gohmert’s announcement, there immediately began speculation on who would run to replace his seat in Congress.

State Sen. Bryan Hughes, seen by many East Texans as the apparent heir after passing the controversial SB 8 anti-abortion law, announced that he would not run for Congress and instead run for re-election to the Texas Senate.

Texas House Rep. Matt Schaefer, (R-Tyler), said in a statement at the time that he and his wife Jasilyn were “prayerfully considering our next steps as a family.”

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran also said that he was “exploring the possibility” of running for Congress if Gohmert were to vacate his seat. He also released a list of other East Texans he would support if they decided to run:

  • Hon. Bryan Hughes 
  • Hon. Kevin Eltife
  • Sheriff Larry Smith
  • Sheriff Maxey Cerliano
  • Hon. Don Warren
  • Hon. Barbara Bass
  • Jerry Alexander
  • Phil Burks
  • Steven Campbell
  • Rev. Dennis Cable
  • Jay Ferguson
  • Bob Garrett
  • Hon. Stuart Hene
  • René and Gaylord Hughey, Jr.
  • Hon. John Nix
  • Mark Robinson
  • Jeramy “Jamy” Skaggs
  • Courtney Smith
  • John Soules, Sr.
  • Hon. Jeff Warr
  • Hon. James Wansley