Editor’s Note: The interview took place in person on 1/14/22.
Joe: You know, my preacher said Sunday that anger and fear motivate men to do great things. I don’t think anyone in the country now trusts the government, which makes us mad and fearful. Anger and fear might make somebody like me—that’s not a politician or lawyer—run for Congress. We need problem solvers. We need people that know how to do business to go to Congress. We need somebody that won’t play games, get things done, and make America a better place. It would be logical to me that as a freshman in Congress, you’d have to network like crazy—that’s no different than what I do in business every day. I have to work with people; I have customers that I think are unreasonable. Some of my customers have their managers clash with me—they think I’m unreasonable—but we’ve learned to work together. So, as a congressman, if I go to Washington, I promise I will have the reputation of being the guy that gets in there and works. I will roll up my sleeves and push an agenda to make America a great place to be. You know, the other three candidates’ campaign names are “Nathaniel Moran for Congress,” “Atholi for Congress,” and “John Porro for Congress.” That makes it about them. Mine is called “Joe for East Texas.” I don’t even have my last name on it because it’s not about me. This will end up costing me money because I’ll be up there fighting for East Texas instead of building my business. What did it do for Trump? Half of the country quit using its hotels. Half the country stopped going to his resorts. I’m the only guy in this race that doesn’t need a job—which means it’s going to cost me something. I don’t gain anything.
Garrit: Yeah. Continuing with that, I think your website states that you are “East Texas First”…
Joe: “All About East Texas.” Do you know how that came about? Well, I had these grandiose ideas for marketing. You know, Trump did something very genius—he’s a marketing genius. He took four words and put them on an ugly 1970s golf cap—Make America Great Again. It didn’t matter if you were a Democrat or Republican—who doesn’t want America to be great. So, I was sitting around thinking about what Trump had done. I thought about doing “Make East Texas Great Again.” However, the reality is that two-thirds of this district is rural, and we like it that way. We don’t want to be Tyler—it’s like a little bitty Dallas. The traffic is so bad—it takes an hour to drive around the loop. They have six lanes of traffic going down Broadway, from downtown to all the shopping centers. My mother lives very near the end of Broadway, and it takes about 30 minutes to go two and a half miles. We don’t want that out here. So, what made East Texas great is that we’re not Tyler. It’s that we’re wholesome and hard-working people. We’re bankers, oilfield workers, farmers, and ranchers. We grow things, work hard, and live out here because it’s safe. Our kids don’t get polluted by everything in the urban world. If you watch the local news, there will be shooting somewhere in Tyler two or three times a week. Would we want that to happen out here? No. So, we live out here. It’s wholesome; people know your name, you get hugged when you go places, people pray for you, and you have community. If you go to Tyler, you’re just one of 150,000 people. So, it’s not about making “East Texas Great Again” because East Texas is already great. So, I came up with “All About East Texas.” Everything I do needs to be about East Texas. I will never vote for something that doesn’t help East Texas—that’s rule number one for me. If it’s not all about East Texas, it is not getting my vote. I don’t care if McCarthy or whoever is putting pressure on me. That means that I might be the guy that votes no all the time.
Garrit: There’s no shame in that. I think we need more people that are willing to vote no.
Joe: Yeah, but you got to be able to articulate why. You’ve got to have a voice—that’s what made Gohmert. That’s what made Gohmert popular in our district—he fought for our values. You know, I think if you research any candidate that Murphy Nasica—it’s a consulting firm—represents, you’ll find that they’ve been getting a lot of people elected that do nothing.
Garrit: Are they involved in this race at all?
Joe: A little bit behind the scenes. They would not represent me because of affiliations. Then I learned that they’re supporting Morgan Luttrell. They supported Jake Ellzey. They support Jay Dean. Those guys get there and do nothing. They just blend in; I don’t want to be a blend-in type of guy. Keep in mind how consulting firms work. Firms get 10% of all money they raise. So, if they raise $100,000 for you, they get $10,000. That is chickensh*t. Anybody that’s using a political fundraising consultant is not grassroots. All you have to do is go to the FEC filings. What you’re going to find on Moran is that a tremendous amount of his money is coming from lobbyists.
Garrit: He raised over $300,000 in his first month, right?
Joe: Yeah, that’s not normal. That’s not grassroots. In grassroots campaigns, people give you $5, $10, or $15. They don’t give you $5,800—Moran has donors who have the means and the resources to do that. You will learn that Moran’s money comes from the establishment if you follow the money. I told this story last night in Pittsburgh. When Bryan Hughes was running for the Senate the first time, I helped him. I wish I wouldn’t have, but I did learn something. I was in the deer farming business, and The King Ranch, which has hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at lobbyists, was trying to shut down deer breeders and high fence and stuff. They came at us massively. These guys are breeding deer-like people do bulls—they’re creating super genetics. A place like The King Ranch doesn’t have a high fence because they have too much land and can’t breed the super genetic deer. So, hunters are not going into The King Ranch anymore to hunt. They will instead go to these small high fence places to shoot big deer. So, I was involved with the Texas Deer Association. I had gotten to speak at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, explaining why deer farming was an important business in East Texas. So, the Texas Deer Association comes to me and asks if I can get Bryan Hughes on their side—I know Bryan Hughes and have his phone number. They wanted me to hand-deliver a $5,000 check to Bryan Hughes. I did this in Smith County in front of Larry Smith—the sheriff. So, I did what they asked, and Bryan said, “yes sir.” Hughes no longer accepts my phone calls. Bryan is a sellout. Are you familiar with SB1—the voter integrity bill?
Garrit: I remember you saying that it bumps down the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor, right?
Joe: Yeah, I’m just going to read this to you. This is a post that I grabbed off of the internet. It says, “if you believe Governor Greg Abbott’s promises that the new Texas election law was designed to stop mail ballot shenanigans, think again. The Texas Democratic Party stated Monday that it will mail out hundreds of 1000s of vote-by-mail applications to Texans aged 65 and older who did not request the applications. This is part of the Dems get out to vote plan for the March 1 primary. Included in SB1… written solely by Bryan Hughes and signed into law by Governor Abbott is Texas election code section 84.0111, which allows a political party or a candidate to distribute a mail ballot application form to people who did not request an application.” So, an elections administrator can’t send out unsolicited ballots, but a political party machine and candidates can? “SB1 also reduces criminal penalties for voter fraud from a second-degree felony down to a class A misdemeanor. “I think Hughes played the biggest magic show in Texas history. They also disguised constitutional carry—which is permitless carry. If it were constitutional carry, there would be no rules. However, there are rules. You have fewer rights to do permitless carry than you do having an LTC license. You know, I’ve been a member of the NRA since I was 18 years old. I am also a licensed to carry instructor by the state of Texas. If I had a choice over what to write about, I either wrote about the Second Amendment or the Vietnam War at Baylor. I think there are a lot of lessons about the Vietnam War. I was the guy they would have at anti-gun rallies on campus. They would come to get me to sit in the front row of the auditorium where they were doing an anti-gun rally. When Q&A started, I’d begin to drill these anti-gun activists.
Garrit: I take it you’re against red flag laws?
Joe: I am. We have permitless carry, and they disguised it as constitutional carry. We had voter integrity, but they loosened the penalty, and they gave campaigns and political action groups the right to mail out ballots. But the Bryan Hughes bunch has been going after everybody that committed voter fraud—four significant cases are going on right now about voter fraud. One of those cases is in Gregg County. He’s a Democrat, and he got caught padding the ballot box, and—I might not have all the numbers right—he added 58 ballots to the box and only won by one. He uses this as an example of why he’s doing this voter integrity bill, but he passes a bill that turns it from a felony to a misdemeanor. It’s all smokescreens, and it bothers me. Another thing, I will always be against anybody that wants to use abortion as a tool for birth control. Who gives somebody the right to deprive them of having life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I don’t know if you’ve seen a 4D Sonogram, but you could see…my friend showed me this the other day…that the baby was making an expression and that the baby looked just like his grandmother. This bill did not even abolish abortion. All the bill did was give a citizen the right to report and sue somebody for giving or getting one. How many citizens are going to go around and start suing doctors? Probably not a whole lot. All they’re going to start doing is having clinics that are not advertised as abortion clinics. That’s my guess. So, it is all a big smokescreen. We need to get somebody to primary Hughes, and we need to get somebody to primary all of his little cronies.
Garrit: So, why not challenge Bryan Hughes?
Joe: Because I wanted to go after Gohmert’s seat. I had a conversation with Gohmert back in June at Dr. Hamilton’s house. Gohmert felt like God was closing the door—Louie is very spiritual. He felt like the Lord was closing that door, and I was just angry enough, and I had enough fear that I had to ask this question. There was a book calledUnleashing the King in the Kid written by Dr. Anthony Robinson. I mentored this guy. Mentoring, we call it discipleship in the Christian world, has been a big part of my life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked this question, “what keeps you up at night, what is it that you think about when you wake up in the morning, what are you thinking about when you go to sleep, and why haven’t you done anything about it?” You need to start asking yourself this question, “if not me, who?” If we don’t step up, we can’t blame anybody but ourselves for where we’re in this country.
Garrit: Do you think there’s any room for federal action regarding voter integrity?
Joe: So, we’ve got to keep the federal government out of the states. I think my job is to make sure that the states remain sovereign. If we get the federal government overseeing our state’s elections, the cheating is never going to stop. I wish we could go to a blockchain system on voting. If they’re so smart with all of these electronic voting machines, why can’t I put my email in, and they send me a receipt of how I voted? That way, I can ensure how I voted is how my ballot was cast. I mean, I’m just thinking out loud here.
Garrit: Going back a little bit. Your campaign is “all about East Texas.” How do you plan to be all about East Texas once you get to DC and influence special interests and lobbyists? We talked earlier about Bryan Hughes and the $5,000 check.
Joe: I’ve been asked this a lot. If you were to ask anybody in my life, from 10, 20, and even 40 years ago, they would tell you that I’m not the guy that would be bought and paid for. I’ve been the guy in my town that would fight City Hall. If somebody tried to manipulate or run over me, I would not be the guy to back down. The lion, near the end of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, is talking to someone—I can’t remember the name—and he goes, “when wars come, and they will come, will you be the first to run in and the last to retreat?” We’ve got to have people representing us in Washington that run to the fight and are the last to leave. In his press conference announcing his candidacy, Moran said that he is “not divisive by nature.” Do you know what wolves do to people who don’t want divisive? They eat them up. Why did Putin not screw with Trump? Because Trump was a fighter. Why is Putin screwing with Biden? Because he’s weak and not divisive. So, no one ever has been able to buy me, sway me, or manipulate me. I have always been a truth-teller. I’ve just been that kind of guy to see through the bullsh*t.
Garrit: Would you be interested in maybe if you get up to Congress serving on the Oversight Committee?
Joe: I would love to.
Garrit: Are there any specific committees you would like to serve on?
Joe: Well, I think I would like to be on anything that has to do with international security, homeland security, family rights, or gun rights. I would also want to be on anything that has to do with economics, economic development, or bringing back manufacturing.
Garrit: What do you think of the House Freedom Caucus?
Joe: I’d jump all over that. How can you not?
Garrit: That’s another fascinating thing is that out of everybody in this race, only one of them has not said that they would join the House Freedom Caucus. He said that he would only look into it. That one person is Moran.
Joe: He’s not a constitutional conservative. He can’t be. He allowed Abbott to… let’s get technical. We have a governor, and then we have “mini governors.” Those “mini governors” have the title of county judge. Then we have sheriffs—sheriffs have almost as much right as a county judge because they can decide whether or not they’re going to enforce the rules. What blows my mind away about Moran is that he studied the Constitution for one year out of the three years of law school he had. If he believes that he is a constitutional conservative, then he would have told Abbott, “we’re not doing that in my county, we’re not going to stop people from going to church, and we’re not going to stop people from going to work.” So, Moran is telling me that he doesn’t believe in the Constitution. Now, he’s responding to these kinds of statements with “it wasn’t me that did it: it was Abbott.” He’s pushing the blame on Abbott.
Garrit: If that’s the case, he must not understand the role of his job.
Joe: So if he is a constitutionalist…he spent a year of his law studying the Constitution. Every time I read the Constitution, I believe it more. I think somebody who has a moderate or more liberal understanding of the Constitution, the more they read it, the more they figure out how to circumvent it. Moran is a politician. He is a lawyer. We talked earlier about Bryan Hughes and his little cronies. Do you know who helped and advised Bryan Hughes on all three of those bills?
Garrit: It was Moran.
Joe: Yes, and he’s bragging about it. So, if he’s playing a “magic show” with Hughes, then he’s the problem. He has not refuted me yet. Moran is skirting the questions. He’s playing Bill Clinton politics. Moran is a smart guy—there’s no doubt about it—but he’s playing Bill Clinton politics. If you ask him this, he answers that. I don’t like it. My role in this whole deal might be just to uncover stuff.
Garrit: There’s nothing wrong with that. So, the campaign is “all about East Texas.” What do you think are some of the most significant issues facing the region?
Joe: When I talk to people in East Texas, people tell me they want to believe in their representatives. So, integrity is a big deal. People don’t think the numbers. People don’t believe anything that is coming out of government right now. People don’t understand that the feds are pumping $500 billion a month into our economy, creating inflation and devaluing our dollar. We have folks that are scared they’re going to lose their gun rights. We have folks that are upset because they’re losing their freedoms and liberties. They’re afraid that they’re going to have to put something in their body that they don’t want to put in their body. They don’t want to take the jab. On a side note, have you ever paid attention when you’ve gone to the pharmacy and picked up a prescription that comes in a box?
Garrit: What do you mean exactly?
Joe: Well, when you get your prescription from the pharmacy, there is a label inside the box. That label discloses all the pharmacology they used, what’s in it, the chemical reactions, and the hazards. The label tells you how to take the drug. This summer, I was at a pharmacy in Tyler, Texas. I promised the pharmacist that I would not disclose her name. They knew that I was going to run for office. Anyways, I was getting the shingles immunization shot—which has been around for decades. It’s safe, and there’s pharmacology in the box. So, this pharmacist asked me to go into the pharmacy and grab one of the bottles from either Moderna, J&J, or Pfizer. My mother had taken the Moderna vaccination. So, I pulled the Moderna box out. I then pulled out the label. This will blow your mind. I’m going to show you a picture of this label—it is next to my mail because my friend questioned if I got it off the internet. There’s nothing on it. Do you find that interesting?
Garrit: I do.
Joe: It says, “this page is intentionally left blank.” Usually, there are instructions, chemistry chains, pharmacology, and warnings on the label—that’s normal. This is not normal. So, I googled “why is the instruction pamphlet in the COVID vaccination left blank.” There were a couple of articles on it, even from the liberal Huffington Post. The Huffington Post was trying to say that it’s left blank because it’s ever-changing. The pharmacists told me that she couldn’t even speak to her patients if they would have an allergic reaction to this vaccination. This could have adverse effects on them. Then if you go to the Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J website, the very day Biden came on television and said, “we now have FDA approval of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccination.” So, I went to the Moderna and Pfizer website. On their website, several hours after Biden made this announcement, there is a disclaimer that says, “this is not FDA approved.” Do you mean to tell me that Moderna and Pfizer can’t afford to change their website from “not FDA approved” to “FDA approved?” And the left can’t understand why we don’t trust the government.
Garrit: Is this something that—we were talking about the Oversight Committee earlier—you would be interested in investigating on the Oversight Committee, and what do you think about firing or investigating Fauci?
Joe: I think he needs to be gone. I think he’s part of the magic show—that’s a word I’m going to use a lot in the next couple of weeks. He’s part of the magic show. First of all, I do not know why Trump allowed that man to coach us. I think he pumped Trump and the American people full of false information. I think this was the “Fauci Super Bowl.” He’s dreamed of going to the Super Bowl his whole life. He has studied all of these diseases, and he’s been to all of these outbreaks all over the world. He’s devoted all of his life to this. Thankfully he did because there’s no doubt in my mind that there were some great discoveries that he was in charge of. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. But what happens is when we care about something huge, we want everybody to buy into our idea—that’s human nature. He has enjoyed his entire career for people to fear illness. In the last two years, he has stopped the world from functioning. I think he gets off on it. There’s no doubt he’s a Democrat. There’s no doubt he’s a Liberal. If you watch the hearings, you can tell that he just plays politics. He plays politics with Rand Paul. Rand Paul asked him some direct questions, and instead of answering the questions, Fauci took his two-minute time limit to say, “Rand Paul, you’re attacking me. Rand Paul, I have gotten death threats because of you. Rand Paul, my family is in danger because of you.” Rand Paul is like, “just answer the question.” We’re sick of that. We got to take our country back.
Garrit: What are your thoughts on the January 6 Commission?
Joe: Oh, that’s been very interesting. Just with the events that happened yesterday with Stewart Rhodes. So, the left is saying that Stewart Rhodes planned the riots. His organization is called the “Oath Keepers.” They arrested him yesterday. It took them a year to arrest him.
Garrit: Yeah, that’s interesting. That reminds me of this guy—I can’t remember his name (Editor’s Note: Ray Epps). There’s a video of him calling for people to storm the Capitol, and everyone else was like “no!” and “fed!” So, there’s been speculation that the guy is a federal agent.
Joe: Yeah, there’s no doubt. If you go to a website, it is called his glory.tv; there’s a documentary called “Capital Punishment.” This gentleman was there, and he had his film crews there documenting and supporting President Trump. After the riots occurred, he started approaching people to get their accounts of the events. Anyway, it’s an hour and a half long video. They’re showing Antifa and BLM people in the crowds dressed in their colors—they have their color scheme. These Antifa people that were causing problems at Trump’s speech were all carrying backpacks. They changed clothes, and there’s tons of footage of them changing clothes on Capitol grounds. They changed into Trump attire and then stormed the Capitol. It’s all on video; you cannot deny that it happened. There’s also footage of Ashli Babbitt. She’s just standing there, and she’s not trying to knock the door down or anything. She just stayed in there hollered through the window, and the Capitol Police guy sticks his Glock out and “boom.” She was not provoking that guy. She had not put anybody in danger. She was just protesting, and he has his gun out, pulls it back, sticks it back out, and “boom.” It didn’t kill her. She didn’t die there. Here’s another thing. When they shot her, Babbitt was standing right beside Capitol Police officers on the other side of the door—there were three capital officers. You’re telling me that three grown men couldn’t handle a 120-pound woman? That’s jacked up.
Garrit: Congressman Gohmert has been in Congress for quite some time, and Moran has already voiced that he is not in favor of imposing term limits on himself. What are your thoughts on term limits? Would you impose term limits on yourself?
Joe: I would. Twelve years in the House and Senate should be the longest anyone serves. If you can’t accomplish what you want to achieve in 12 years, you need to go. I’m 50 years old right now. If I could serve our country and our district for 12 years, that would put me at 62 years old. At that age, I don’t want to work anymore. Any moment I felt that I was not practical, I would leave. Why would I want to stay in it? So, 12 years in the House and Senate—that’s it. That’s six terms in the house and two terms in the Senate. If you can’t get what you want to be done in 12 years, you need to go. When you become ineffective, you need to let go and let somebody else take over. I believe that, and I promise to do that. I have always been a person that grooms people to be next. I did that in my work career, and I’ve done it in my mentoring career. Everything I’ve done has been about grooming people to be next. I promise I would invest in young people like you to be next because your generation dictates what my generation does. We have a responsibility to train leaders. John Maxwell wrote a great book on leadership calledThe Five Levels of Leadership. He talks about how influence starts. When you become a level five leader, you’re producing influencers. You went from being the person of influence to creating influencers. I think that’s what it’s all about.
Garrit: Do you have any final thoughts as we end the interview?
Joe: Well, I want people to know that if they’re looking for a “Gohmert 2.0,” somebody that’ll fight, somebody that will not give in to the establishment, somebody that won’t sell out, somebody that shares the values—the Christian values—of our community, I am the guy. I don’t believe anybody else in this race truly represents East Texas as I do. I’ve been showing up to forums and speaking engagements dressed like I am right now (jeans, a button-up shirt, a vest, and cowboy boots). I haven’t been the suit and tie guy because it’s not who I am. I joked last night at the event I was at that I was going to have to get a tailor to make me a suit made out of denim—that’s who I am. I don’t want to ever—and I refuse to—forget who I am and where I come from. I don’t think the other guys can say that.
Garrit Blizzard is the Editor-In-Chief of The Texas Horn. He is a senior studying government at the University of Texas at Austin. Garrit enjoys reading, listening to music, and discussing politics and economics.