Derek Schmidt selects running mate with ties to Pittsburg

TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt waited until the filing deadline Wednesday to announce his selection of a U.S. Senate aide with ties to Southeast Kansas as his running mate in the 2022 campaign.

Schmidt, the state’s attorney general, was under pressure from Kansas GOP hardliners to select a distinctly conservative campaign partner with a track record along the lines of state Sens. Molly Baumgardner, Mike Thompson and Renee Erickson or state Reps. Kristey Williams and Ron Ryckman.

In the end, Schmidt chose Katie Sawyer, a senior staffer for Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall. Schmidt, in response to a question after filing, said the 2022 campaign for governor wasn’t about the GOP nominee’s linkage to former Gov. Sam Brownback.

“Elections are about the future, not about the past,” Schmidt said. “I understand that we’ve got some opponents on the other side who want to re-litigate their glory days and talk about things that are long since history in Kansas. We’re going forward. I’m confident of one thing. We can do better than Kansas has done the last four years.”

After Schmidt’s announcement, the campaign of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly sent out a fundraising message that asserted Schmidt was keen to return to the “days of broken budgets and underfunded schools” under Brownback.

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