Written by By Chris Cottrell, CNN
Rep. Louie Gohmert is running for Texas Attorney General, CNN has learned.
The announcement follows Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision not to seek re-election, following speculation that he was running for president.
Texas on Tuesday set primary elections for March, though the winner of the general election will be installed in office no later than January 1, 2019.
“I ran for Attorney General to fight for small business owners, and to make sure government is at the service of the people, not the other way around,” Gohmert said in a statement provided to CNN. “Today we all know that the people are angry and outraged and we should be outraged too. There is no more needed cause for action than protecting the constitutional rights of Texans. I am running for Texas Attorney General because we cannot risk another eight years of Barack Obama appointing judges who are hostile to the rights of Americans to keep their own property, speak freely, defend the Second Amendment, keep their health care, or keep their government out of their life.”
Former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Gov. Abbott’s own chief of staff Matt Hirsch, and three others had also been looking at running for the office.
The race will not be without its own controversy.
As CNN previously reported, Gohmert has tried to dispute allegations that he uttered a racial slur to a reporter.
In 2014, CNN reported that Gohmert said he could “probably count on one hand” the number of “white people” he has met, including President Barack Obama.
Asked by CNN if he would comment on the racial controversy surrounding his comments, Gohmert said: “Where did you get the quote?”
“Is there a problem with me being white?” he asked. “And I didn’t say I was white.”
‘Friendly’ words to American Express
Gohmert is best known in Texas for his controversial comments on abortion, Iran, same-sex marriage and other issues, including the mosque in Garland.
He has also become increasingly involved in politics, publicly supporting Donald Trump during the Republican primary.
“He made the right choice and it was very important to me, because I wanted him to win,” Gohmert said in November.
“I’m helping him where I can,” he added. “I feel like I have been branded a Putin sympathizer… so when Trump said he wouldn’t talk to Putin, I told him he needed to. And when he said, ‘No, that’s not true,’ I wrote him the nice message that I always write to American Express.”
CNN previously reported that Gohmert’s statement showing that he had once mailed a mailing to American Express over alleged fraud allegations was fraudulent.
“Louis Gohmert had never actually paid for an AmEx mailing or purchased American Express products or services,” Gohmert’s spokesman, Ryan Sitton, said. “The only person who’s owed a return receipt is AmEx.”
A senior Republican source told CNN that Gohmert “is to the right of Greg Abbott” on issues and “is probably going to get a couple terms,” in the wake of his announcement.