U.S. Speaker Of The House Backs Gohmert In East Texas Visit

It's one of the most important congressional races in the country and the battle for power in Congressional District 1 is capturing the support of major Republican leaders.

Monday,  U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert spoke at invitation only luncheon for Republican candidate Louie Gohmert. Hastert was the second major political figure to back Gohmert.

In May, Vice President Dick Cheney helped Gohmert raise more than $250,000 at a luncheon in Longview.  "To have the Vice President come and express his support as well as President Bush's support of our campaign, to have the 3rd most powerful man in the nation, Dennis Hastert come, it's a big deal," said Gohmert.

Monday's private luncheon with Hastert netted almost $70,000.

"Last two quarters we've out raised our opponent," said Gohmert referring to Democrat incumbent Max Sandlin. "He's got most of his from liberal self interest pacts and we've got most of ours from individuals the people here, the people of East Texas that care."

U.S. Congressional District 1 is major point of interest for both Republicans and Democrats.

"The Democrat Campaign Organization for Congress put out a newsflash last night," said Hastert at the luncheon, "that the Speaker's going in to strong arm people in districts to the West."

Hastert said the future of Republicans as a majority in the House could be secured with wins by Republican candidates like Gohmert.

Gohmert said despite the national attention, his focus will remain on issues affecting East Texas.

"Ours isn't a Washington campaign," said Gohmert. "It's nice to be able to have someone like the speaker... We're not going to be anybody's puppet. We're going to stand tall for East Texans and East Texan's families and values."

With almost 3 more months of campaiging, Republicans hope this strategy will reflect on election night in November.

On Friday Louie Gohmert will get more support from another major republican leader, US House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, who will attend a breakfast in Lufkin in support of Gohmert.

Maya Golden reporting