Sources have told Texas Scorecard that candidates are already positioning themselves behind the scenes, awaiting the potential for an ‘East Texas Shakeup’ in the wake of U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert’s announcement that he is exploring a bid for Texas Attorney General.

The Domino Effect

Gohmert has served the East Texas Congressional District 1 since 2005.

His choice to run for a different position potentially opens up the seat to many who have likely been waiting in the wings.

A source revealed that it is Republican State Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) who will be most likely announcing his candidacy in short order. State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) is reportedly happy where he is, in the inner circles of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Senate leadership.

In the event that Schaefer does jump in the race to replace Gohmert, that in turn leaves a potential open seat for any other would-be candidate to replace him.

Schaefer, one of the most conservative lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives, is coming off of one of arguably his most successful legislative sessions, having successfully shepherded legislation providing for Constitutional Carry, among other things.

Potential Candidates

In the event that Schaefer does in fact announce for the Congressional seat being vacated by Gohmert, it has been rumored that two potential candidates have been positioning themselves behind the scenes attempting to garner support from donors and political influencers in the region.

Current Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran is reportedly already cultivating supporters.

Moran was originally appointed to the judgeship replacing former County Judge Joel Baker, who pleaded guilty after having been prosecuted by the Attorney General for violating the Open Meetings Act in 2016. Moran was just a few years earlier a member of the Tyler City Council.

Moran is reportedly a supporter of the practice of taxpayer-funded lobbying, portraying it as Conservative and a matter of local control.

Another possible candidate is Jeff Warr, a former Tyler City Councilman, and former Smith County Commissioner. Reportedly he will not announce should Moran announce.

All of these potential entrants, however, largely rest on whether Gohmert officially launches a campaign for attorney general. With his soft launch this week, the Congressman noted that his decision would be contingent on whether his campaign could raise $1 million in 10 days.

Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.