Derek Schmidt (R) has served as the attorney general of Kansas since 2011 and ran for governor in 2022 with Trump’s endorsement, but lost in a close race to Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly. He was previously a member of the Kansas Senate, serving from 2001–11.
Schmidt has a history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and his running mate for lieutennant governor, Katie Sawyer, criticized incumbent Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) for vetoing a bill that would undermine protections for trans children. He also issued a press release titled “U.S. Supreme Court term good for liberty, the rule of law” and praised the 2022 Supreme Court Dobbs decision striking down the legal right to abortion for women in the U.S.
January 6, 2021
- Schmidt is a former director of the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), an arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) that funded robocalls urging Trump supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election..
The Big Lie
- In December 2020, Schmidt filed an amicus brief along with 16 other Republican attorneys general in Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four swing states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In that case, Texas alleged that all four states violated the Constitution by changing election procedures during the pandemic through non-legislative means. The amicus brief supported the “independent state legislature theory,” which argues that a state’s legislature is the only branch of state government with the ability to perform election oversight. SCOTUS quickly dismissed the case for lack of standing.
- In defending his participation in the lawsuit, Schmidt said that it raised “important and potentially recurring constitutional questions.” His decision drew plenty of criticism, including from the Topeka Capital-Journal, which chided, “The Kansas attorney general knows the law. He knows that the case Texas recently filed in the U.S. Supreme Court attempting to overturn the presidential election is dangerous nonsense. But he signed our state onto an amicus brief anyway, joining other states in supporting that very same dangerous nonsense.”
- In September 2020, two Schmidt aides attended a “war games” summit to plan a response to a potential Biden victory. Coordinated by RAGA, the summit was aimed at mapping out potential legal challenges to undermine the outcome of the election if Biden were to win.
Post-2020 Election Subversion
- In August 2021, Schmidt announced that he would enforce a voting law that a Kansas district attorney declined to prosecute. Various nonprofits along with Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez determined that the law was overly broad and intentionally designed to make it more difficult for citizens to vote.
- Schmidt led a senseless three-year lawsuit to uphold restrictions on voter registration. After appealing all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and losing, he left taxpayers in the state of Kansas on the hook to pay $1.9 million in legal fees owed to the American Civil Liberties Union and a Kansas City law firm.