DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Conservative East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert told CBS 11 he called Donald Trump last summer when he heard the former President was thinking about endorsing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
"I suggested that he hold up. I said, 'I'm even thinking about it if there's not a better alternative'," said U.S. Rep. Gohmert.
After the former President endorsed Paxton last July, Gohmert said he didn't contact Mr. Trump again.
But Gohmert said when he did enter the primary against Paxton in November, he heard from Mr. Trump.
"He called me and he said, 'I was told that you were definitely not running before I endorsed.' Well, I didn't tell him that. So, it became clear it took a lie, a lie to President Trump that Gohmert's definitely not running in order to get the endorsement and further re-enforces this Attorney General will do anything and say anything to get what he wants. That's not the kind of Attorney General we need. There's only one person who helped to lie and say I was definitely not running and that was Ken Paxton, either him or somebody on his behalf. Nobody else had any motive to say that and lie about it."
CBS 11 emailed both the Paxton campaign and the office of former President Trump about Gohmert's remarks, but so far, neither has responded.
Last month, Paxton tweeted a video of him appearing with Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago for a fundraiser.
Another candidate in the race, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, also lobbied the former President for his endorsement last year.
Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman is also in the race.
Guzman, Bush, and Gohmert have all expressed concerns in interviews with CBS 11 that if Paxton wins the primary, he could then be indicted on federal charges after some of his former top lieutenants in the Attorney General's Office accused of him bribery and other allegations.
Paxton and the Attorney General's Office have denied any wrongdoing.
He has also pleaded not guilty to state fraud charges and is awaiting trial.
Two recent polls of the primary showed Paxton leading.
A Texas Tribune/UT poll in October showed Paxton at 48 percent, Bush at 16 percent, and Guzman at 2 percent.
A Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler poll in November showed Paxton with 46 percent, Bush with 32 percent, and Guzman with 7 percent.
The polls came out before Gohmert entered the race.
Gohmert made this prediction. "There will be a runoff and it'll be him and me."
The Texas primary is March 1.
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