Derek Schmidt is an American lawyer and politician who has been the Kansas Attorney General since 2011. The 54-year-old is running for Kansas governor.

Born January 23, 1968, Schmidt graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in 1990, received a master’s degree in international politics from the University of Leicester in England, and received his J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.

He was elected to the Kansas Senate in 2000. In 2004, Schmidt was elected the Senate majority leader and held the post through 2010.

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During his time in the Kansas Senate, Schmidt sponsored a proposal to repeal the state’s ban on for-profit prisons. However, it was an unsuccessful bid.

Under his tenure as attorney general, he has taken measures to restrict LGBT rights in Kansas, including defending the state’s laws against same-sex marriages. He has opposed efforts to legalize or decriminalize marijuana in Kansas.

A Republican, Schmidt was first elected to office serving in the Kansas Senate, where he represented the 15th district from 2001 to 2011. He served as Agriculture Committee chairman and Senate majority leader.

Schmidt became the state attorney general in 2011, after he defeated incumbent Democrat Stephen Six in the November 2010 elections.

In 2020, after Republican President Donald Trump was defeated by Joe Biden, Schmidt joined a failed effort to overturn the election results. 

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Schmidt launched his campaign for the 2022 Republican nomination for governor of Kansas in March 2021, challenging the incumbent governor, Laura Kelly, a Democrat.

Schmidt named former Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold as his campaign treasurer.

One of Schmidt’s opponents in the Republican primary election was former Governor Jeff Colyer, but he dropped out of the race for the nomination due to ill health in August 2021, and endorsed Schmidt. He is also looking forward to having the support of Trump in the race, saying that he feels the former president’s agenda “was very good for Kansas.”