Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert announced Monday that he is running for attorney general of Texas, throwing his hat in the ring for what's expected to be one of the most closely watched state races in 2022.
Gohmert, who has been in Congress since 2005, said in a video announcement that he has already raised $1 million in his bid to unseat fellow Republican Ken Paxton. If he is elected, Gohmert said, he will prioritize "election integrity," push back against "unconstitutional mandates" and clamp down on border crossings.
"A priority will be election integrity so that every legal vote counts," Gohmert said. "If you allow me, I will not wait to be my busiest until after there's some bad press about legal improprieties. I'll start boldly protecting your rights on day one."
Paxton is under indictment on charges of securities fraud and faces an FBI investigation into allegations that he abused his office. He has denied any wrongdoing and rebuffed bipartisan calls to resign.
Gohmert also said he would fight pandemic mandates and take a hard line on immigration.
"Unconstitutional mandates will not be tolerated from anyone — parental consent is still an important concept in America, and especially in Texas," he said. "The invasion across our Southern border has to stop, but they're still pouring in."
Texas has been at the forefront of resisting federal mandates from the Biden administration. It has also engaged in numerous legal battles with the Justice Department over voting laws, abortion and Covid-19 policies.
Gohmert joins a crowded field of candidates that includes George P. Bush, the state's land commissioner, who is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. GOP state Rep. Matt Krause and former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, a Republican, have also filed paperwork to run. Two Democrats are running.
Candidates have until mid-December to register to run. The primary is scheduled for March.
Paxton won re-election in 2018 with 50 percent of the vote. He is seeking a third term under a cloud of legal and professional troubles, including a State Bar of Texas investigation into whether his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election amounted to professional misconduct, The Associated Press reported.
Gohmert last year filed a lawsuit that sought to overturn the presidential election results by allowing Vice President Mike Pence to hand the election to President Donald Trump. The courts rejected the attempt, ruling that Gohmert and a group of 11 Arizona electors who favored Trump didn't have standing to change Pence's constitutional role.