U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, at a 2019 congressional hearing. The Texan appears to be exploring joining a growing list of Republicans seeking to unseat Attorney General Ken Paxton in next year’s GOP primary. Credit: Doug Mills/Pool via REUTERS

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U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, appears to be exploring a run for Texas attorney general, weighing a late entry into the already crowded primary to unseat GOP incumbent Ken Paxton.

Gohmert was set to make a “very important” campaign announcement Tuesday morning in Tyler, and while it is unclear whether that happened, a website surfaced around the same time that claimed he was making an “exploratory” effort in the race. The Texas Ethics Commission said afterward that it received a new campaign treasurer appointment from Gohmert for an attorney general run, one of the first formal steps someone has to take to vie for state office.

News of Gohmert’s potential candidacy comes four days before candidate filing opens for the 2022 primary — and as Paxton already faces three primary challengers well-known in Texas politics. They include Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and state Rep. Matt Krause of Fort Worth.

A website purporting to be about Gohmert’s exploratory effort said Texas needs an attorney general “whose top attorneys working for him have not found it necessary to send a letter to the FBI urging an investigation into corruption of their boss.” That is a reference to the FBI probe that Paxton has prompted over claims from former deputies that he abused his office to aid a wealthy donor. Paxton has denied any wrongdoing.

The public rollout of Gohmert’s apparent exploratory committee was messy. He had been scheduled to be in Tyler at 11:30 a.m. to make what was billed as a “very important campaign kick-off announcement.” Around noon, his campaign’s Twitter account tweeted a live broadcast that did not work. After the purported campaign website surfaced on social media, he did not respond to calls and a text message seeking comment.

Gohmert’s district’s office referred questions about the announcement to a campaign email address, which did not respond to multiple messages.

The URL for the website purporting to be about the exploratory effort is not the same as one for another Gohmert campaign website, which still says he is running for Congress.

The more recent website says Gohmert “needs 100,000 citizens to send $100 each (or any other amount to get to $1,000,000) by November 19.” However, the product of 100,000 and $100 is $10 million, not $1 million.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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