TOPEKA — Republican Rep. Scott Schwab announced his campaign for Kansas Secretary of State on Wednesday, calling for improvements in implementing the state’s election laws.
Schwab, an Olathe conservative, serves as speaker pro tem of the Kansas House of Representatives and previously has chaired the elections and insurance committees. He said he thinks that service makes him qualified for the secretary of state position. Last week, he appointed a treasurer in the race, allowing him to start raising money.
If elected, Schwab said he wanted to focus on making sure elections laws are “executed with the intent of the Legislature.” He said he wanted to make sure counties had the staff, volunteers and resources they needed to effectively run elections after several years of changes in policy.
“When there’s that much of a policy shift, hiccups can happen.”
Schwab said he was not interested in rolling back tough Kansas voting laws championed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor.
In his gubernatorial campaign, Kobach has accused the Legislature of fostering a “culture of corruption,” a charge Schwab said he plans to ask Kobach to explain. Schwab is working with legislative staff on drafting a letter asking Kobach to explain his accusation.
“If he’s going to insult the integrity of the Legislature, then we need to know what it is,” Schwab said.
Schwab said the Legislature isn’t “like Washington” and would fix any such problems.
“It’s not an election issue, it’s a problem,” Schwab said.
In a press release announcing his run, Schwab said he and his wife, Michele Schwab, had decided in early last year that Schwab would run in 2018, but everything was put on hold when they lost their son, Caleb, on the Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn Water Park last summer.
Schwab is from Great Bend and graduated from Fort Hays State University. He was first elected to the House in 2002.