Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert is telling colleagues that he plans to run for chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of GOP lawmakers that promotes conservative principles in the House of Representatives.
It’s up in the air when the next election for RSC chairman will take place: Its current chairman, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, is running for House majority whip. If he wins that contest, the election to replace him could be soon. If not, the committee will elect a new leader after the midterm elections this fall.
“Whether it’s now or in November, either way I’m running,” Gohmert told The Daily Caller in an interview Monday.
“We have seen how deeply in trouble this country is,” Gohmert said. “And the RSC was created to help make Republican leaders more accountable — keeping our promises of less government, and more independence, and more freedom for America.”
A Republican lawmaker who voted against John Boehner for speaker last year, Gohmert is a frequent conservative voice on cable. “We have watched as Republican leadership has caved in on far too many issues, and there’s no time like now that the RSC has been more needed,” he said.
Gohmert said he has a “vision for the RSC that I’ll be spelling out.”
“America is in deep trouble and we have the answers,” Gohmert said. “We just haven’t been standing as strongly on our answers as we should.”
Gohmert, the former chief justice of Texas’s 12th Court of Appeals who was elected to Congress in 2004, unsuccessfully ran for chairman of the RSC in 2010. Gohmert said Monday he learned from that experience he jumped into the race too late.
“I’m making sure people know that I’m running,” he said, “Because four years ago, I had numerous people tell me when I started contacting them at the end of September and early October, ‘Gee Louie, I wish I had known, I’ve already committed and I didn’t know that people would be whipping.’ I know now, and that’s why I want to make sure we get the word out.”
Gohmert is expected to face competition from several other conservative lawmakers, including Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.
Steve Stockman, the outgoing conservative Texas GOP congressman, has endorsed Gohmert.
“The RSC is the conscience of conservatism in Congress,” Stockman said. “There is no better choice for chairman than one of our most fearless champions. Louie Gohmert is the no-compromise leader we need to do battle in a town of compromisers.”
The RSC chairman position could open up soon because of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising primary loss in Virginia last week. If House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy wins the race this week to replace Cantor as leader, and Scalise wins the race to replace McCarthy, there will be an opening on the RSC.
On Monday, Gohmert told TheDC he could announce support for McCarthy’s challenger for majority leader, Raul Labrador, soon. But Gohmert said he wanted assurances from Labrador on immigration first.
“I’m waiting for a confirmation from Raul that I understood him correctly in what he promised me,” Gohmert explained. “And if I understood him correctly, then I’ll be very vocal in my support for Raul. I just need to hear back from him.”
Elaborating, Gohmert said: “It’s on the promise that as majority leader, he’d make sure that no bill came to the floor regarding immigration until the border is secured as determined by people with states on the border.”