GOP Kansas attorney general launches campaign for governor

Kansas

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt discusses a proposal that he’s pushing with other Republicans to amend the state constitution to give the Legislature the power to overturn state agencies’ administrative regulations, at a news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Behind him are Senate President Ty Masterson, left, R-Andover, and House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., right, R-Olathe. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorney General Derek Schmidt has launched his campaign for Kansas governor.

Schmidt’s kickoff Tuesday came after weeks of heightened visibility for the three-term Republican because of the GOP-controlled Legislature’s debates over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Schmidt is the first major Republican to formally announce a candidacy for the right to challenge Kelly in 2022, though former GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer signaled his plans to run Friday.

Lawmakers have boosted Schmidt’s visibility by pushing legislation to give the attorney general a check on the governor’s power during future emergencies.

He’s clashed with Kelly during the pandemic and joined battles over the 2020 election.

Former governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. welcomed Schmidt to the race.

“I welcome Derek Schmidt to the Governor’s race.”

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