Former Kansas attorney general announces bid for Congress

Former Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) announced Friday that he will run for Congress in a bid to replace outgoing Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.).

Schmidt announced his campaign just a week after LaTurner said he will retire from Congress. The three-term attorney general is now gunning for the House after narrowly losing a 2022 gubernatorial bid to Gov. Laura Kelly (D).

“I feel a calling to serve, so I am excited to announce that I am running,” Schmidt wrote in an announcement. “I strongly believe that America needs more effective, conservative voices in public service.”

Kansas’ 2nd District contains parts of Kansas City and much of rural eastern Kansas. It is considered a safe conservative seat for the general election.

Schmidt’s campaign emphasized his experience as attorney general in being tough on crime and held up his record of arguing against the Obama and Biden administrations in the Supreme Court.

“Those of us who represent Kansas conservative values need to stand up and fight back,” he said in a statement, adding a jab at President Biden. “In Congress, I will work to secure our border, fight overreach from the federal government that doesn’t understand our way of life and stop the federal government from making daily life increasingly expensive and difficult.”

His announcement also affirmed his support for former President Trump in 2024.

“These past four years have made clear that America was stronger when President Trump served in the White House,” Schmidt wrote. “And I look forward to working with him and others next year — yes, to truly make America great again.”

Schmidt was generally viewed as a moderate during his stint as attorney general, but he embraced far-right positions on vaccines, transgender rights and critical race theory during his gubernatorial campaign.

He also faced criticism for embracing election denial rhetoric surrounding the 2020 election, including working with a group that later urged people to participate in what became the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Schmidt also joined a Texas lawsuit attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, which failed.

Schmidt is the only GOP candidate who has announced a campaign for the 2nd District seat. The Kansas primary is scheduled for Aug. 6.

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