AUSTIN, Texas — In this week's edition of Texas This Week, Ashley Goudeau sits down with U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) to discuss his campaign for Texas attorney general.
Three things to know in Texas politics
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Texas was hit by what Gov. Greg Abbott called the most significant icing event in decades this week. While this weather event was significantly less severe than the February 2021 winter storm, many Texans were nervous about the condition of the state's power grid. Even at peak demand, the grid was fully functioning. Gov. Abbott said that's the result of the legislation law makers passed after the 2021 storm.
Gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke launched power grid tour
As Texas approaches the one year anniversary of the 2021 winter storm that claimed hundreds of lives and left millions of Texans in the dark and without water for days, Democrat candidate for governor Beto O'Rourke launched his "Keeping the Lights On" tour on Friday. O'Rourke plans to visit more than 20 communities in 12 days, highlighting the grid's previous failure, discussing his plan to fix it and celebrating the Texans who stepped up to help their neighbors. The tour comes to Austin next week.
COVID-19 deaths reach 900,000 in US
This week brought mixed news on the omicron surge of COVID-19. The number of new cases in Texas, the Austin metro and country as a whole is trending downward. But Johns Hopkins reports the U.S. reached a grim milestone – 900,000 people in the U.S. have died from complications of the virus since the start of the pandemic. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 79,000 of those people were in the Lone Star State.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R), candidate for Texas attorney general
The Republican primary race for Texas attorney general has become one of the most contested races on the ballot. Three elected officials are challenging Attorney General Ken Paxton. KVUE News reached out to Paxton's campaign and office to request an interview but never heard back. His challengers did respond.
Last week, Judge Eva Guzman, who resigned from the Texas Supreme Court to run, and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush sat down with KVUE to discuss their campaigns.
This week, East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert talked with KVUE about why he's running.
Ashley Goudeau: First, tell our viewers why you want to be the next attorney general of Texas.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert: "Well, it wasn't something I ever dreamed of being, anything like that. But after the 2018 election, when I didn't feel like our attorney general was pursuing evidence that I saw was presented, it seemed to be quite significant voter fraud or election fraud in Dallas. And then in 2020, there were some examples that were presented to our attorney general and [he] did nothing about him. And with the border, look, you know, he shows up for press conferences down there, but I haven't seen him do anything to help protect Texas. And when it comes to things like, well, he was asked for an attorney general opinion last summer, and at the time I announced in November he had not come out with an opinion, he still hasn't, on whether or not the secretary of state can give waivers of the Texas law passed by the Legislature, signed by the governor, that requires sequential numbering of ballots that will take care of so much potential election fraud. So there were a number of issues, but particularly the border issue and election issue. But the coup de gras was when seven of his top people, including his very top person, all of whom he hired for their integrity and their intelligence, finally had enough. And they sent a letter to the FBI outlining crimes they believe he had committed of bribery, of corruption and also the abuse of office. Those three crimes were things that they had alleged. And these were people that are known for their integrity. He hired them for their integrity. And you know, he's told some people, I've talked to that, 'Gee, I had a bunch of criminals working for me and they were stabbing me in the back,' and I was going, no, no, that's not the case. Ashley, it reminds me that scene in "The Natural" when Robert Redford throws the payoff money back at the judge, the corrupt judge, and the judge said, 'I thought I could count on your integrity.' And Robert Redford says, 'You're about to.' Well, he hired them for their integrity and that's why they had to file what they did. And that was just too much. We needed a new attorney general."
Ashley Goudeau: One of your opponents, Judge Eva Guzman, has been critical of you. During our interview last week, she said:
"The bottom line is he hasn't seen a courtroom as a lawyer since 2005. He left for Congress. I understand, I've read, that he's missed 846 votes during his time in Congress."
What's your response to that?
U.S. Rep. Gohmert: "Well, first of all, it was Paxton that put out the hit piece about missed votes. There, there have been over 10,000 votes – between 10,000 and 20,000 votes – and many of them, like a journal vote, many of them are completely meaningless. Many times they have a suspension bill so that they can get you to the floor and they can whip you to try to get you to vote or something you're not going to vote for. So, yeah, I missed less than 10% of the bills, much less than 10%. I vote on the important bills. As far as Eva Guzman, now Eva has said, 'Gee, I hadn't been in the courtroom in 17 years,' and actually I have been in courtrooms within the last 17 years. But unlike her, in my job on the Judiciary Committee and being in Congress, I am constantly cross-examining witnesses. I am constantly making arguments, oral arguments and nobody, including Paxton, has my background of trying cases."
Goudeau: Give our viewers some final thoughts on why they should elect you over the other candidates.
U.S. Rep. Gohmert: "The other two people running, George P. Bush and Eva Guzman, they're nice people. They don't have my experience. Paxton doesn't have my experience. As I look back over the need for an a good attorney general, I saw that they were not going to be in a runoff with Paxton. I felt like I could be. And I felt like I would be the most tenacious attorney general that we could have when it came to enforcing the law and making sure we don't have an attorney general that is been convicted of bribery, corruption, abuse of office that he's being investigated, that our current AG is being investigated for. And we will see, but we cannot afford to lose that office to someone who can't be trusted."
You can view the interviews with Judge Guzman and Land Commissioner Bush here:
As election season ramps up, we want to remind you of some important dates:
- Feb. 14, 2022: early voting starts
- Feb. 18, 2022: deadline for mail-in ballot application to be received
- Feb. 25, 2022: early voting ends
- March 1, 2022: Election Day
Keep in mind Texas doesn't require voters to register with a political party. This means you have the freedom to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. Voters will tell election workers which ballot they want at the polls.
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