Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, a Republican who challenged President Donald Trump’s unfounded attacks on the integrity of the election system in 2020, announced Wednesday he would run for re-election next year.
Schwab, 48, was elected to the statewide office which handles election administration in 2018 following Kris Kobach, who is now running for attorney general.
In announcing his candidacy Wednesday, Schwab reaffirmed his opposition to Democratic efforts in D.C. to expand federal control of elections.
His office previously testified in favor of a state resolution asking Congress to reject HR 1, the bill to expand mail-in voting nationwide and establish same-day registration for federal elections. The measure failed on a 50-50 procedural vote in the U.S. Senate Tuesday.
“At a time when Democrats in Washington D.C. are trying to dramatically change state election administration, we need leaders who will defend the integrity of our elections,” Schwab said in a statement Wednesday. “I am seeking a second term as Kansas Secretary of State because it is imperative that we protect our election processes in Kansas and streamline business filings.”
During and after the 2020 election, Schwab dismissed efforts by Trump to diminish trust in mail in voting and the election results. He was among the first GOP officials nationally to reject Trump’s suggestion in July that the election be delayed.
“In Kansas, we have implemented measures to ensure the security and safety of the August and November elections. We respectfully ask the Kansas delegation to not support any delay to the November election,” Schwab said in a statement at the time. “Now is not the time to act in fear but to show the world we are courageous.”
Following the election, Schwab told lawmakers that Kansas had held “free and fair” elections despite the pandemic and surge in mail-in voting laws.
His office remained neutral in Legislative efforts to adjust voting laws, stating that Kansas is “voter friendly” but that lawmakers should regularly evaluate voting rules.
Schwab’s office is now facing state and federal lawsuits claiming changes passed in May are unconstitutional.
Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat and ranking minority member on the House Elections Committee, said he didn’t expect Schwab’s handling of the 2020 election to hurt his chances for re-election.
“He’s in a difficult position because he’s the chief election officer in KS. He can’t say that Kansas elections are corrupt or that the election was stolen,” Carmichael said. “An attempt to impugn the integrity of the Kansas elections would reflect poorly on him as an individual.”
Carmichael said he felt Schwab had been professional running the office though he said was frustrated with Schwabs’ firing of a Sedgwick County elections official and delayed implementation of a law granting voters flexibility in where they vote.
“He’s done a craftsman like job,” Carmichael said. “Which is, by the way, consistent with what Secretaries of State did until Kris Kobach came into office.”
Correction: an earlier version of this story identified John Carmichael as a Republican. He is a Democrat.