Louie Gohmert made it official on Tuesday by filing to run for Attorney General of Texas. Gohmert has earned a national profile through outlandish claims like saying we could change the moon’s orbit to address climate change or that there was no evidence of an armed insurrection on January 6. But what people may not know is that on paper he has a pedigree that makes him an ideal Republican statewide candidate.
Gohmert attended Texas A&M University on a scholarship he earned from the U.S. Army. According to his congressional biography, he was the class president for both the Corps and Civilian students. He then attended Law School at Baylor University, where he again served as class president. For what it’s worth, one of his former constitutional law professors told Texas Monthly that back then he was “about 32 degrees to the right of Attila the Hun.”
After that, Gohmert was at the JAG (Judge Advocate General) School at the University of Virginia. He would then go on to serve in the JAG Corps of the U.S. Army, primarily as a defense attorney.
In 1992, Gohmert was back in Texas, and he was elected as a state district judge. He would go on to serve for a decade. He gained a modicum of notoriety for one case that he tried where he ordered an HIV-positive man, who was on trial for stealing a car, to obtain written consent for any future sexual partners. In 2002, then-Governor Rick Perry appointed him as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals after the seat was vacated.
Gohmert entered Congress in 2005 after the Tom DeLay-orchestrated redistricting that happened in the middle of the decade. Gohmert defeated a Republican state representative in the primary and cruised to a victory in the newly reshaped first congressional district (which now spans most of east Texas).
When the Tea Party wave crashed into Washington, Gohmert really got going with the type of statements that made him fodder for cable news. There was the time he was on the House floor claiming President Obama was creating a second Ottoman Empire. Then there were the remarks against limiting high-capacity magazines by comparing gun control to how gay marriage could lead to bestiality. He was also one of five Republican House members who called on the State Department to investigate Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
When Trump entered the Oval Office, Gohmert’s behavior somehow became even more deranged. At a hearing for Jeff Sessions, Gohmert introduced a chart that would fit into any movie parodying crackpot conspiracies (Hillary Clinton Secret Server! Benghazi! Susan Rice!).
Then came COVID-19. Predictably, Gohmert eschewed safety and health precautions by refusing to wear a face mask. His own staff was alerted by the media that he had even contracted COVID-19. Gohmert then speculated that wearing a mask was how he contracted the coronavirus.
Somehow, Gohmert upped the ante with his crazy after the 2020 election (which Joe Biden won). He filed a lawsuit against Vice President Pence to overturn the election. When a federal judge dismissed the suit, he then said “street violence” could be a remedy. A report from Rolling Stone also alleges he was involved in the planning to attack the Capitol on January 6.
In spite of all the craziness and all the antics, Gohmert is popular in his district. He’s also very concerned about Ken Paxton’s legal culpability. In his first speech outlining that he was exploring a run for Attorney General (which was marred by some technical difficulties), he talked about how Republicans could lose the race if Paxton remained the nominee.
And while it might be easy to dismiss Gohmert as the embodiment of the stupidity of Texas Republicans, he has the background that could win a Republican primary or at least force a run-off. Still, Paxton has the Trump endorsement. And Paxton told conservative radio host Mark Davis he expects to win outright.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)