Schmidt switches for higher profile

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, who has represented this district in the Senate since 2001, is now a candidate for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Schmidt announced two months ago he would run for secretary of state, but changed his mind, he said, because he thought he could be of more service in the AG office.
As demonstrated by his position of leadership in the Senate, Schmidt stands out from the political crowd. He is bright, an outstanding public speaker and understands state issues far better than most. He would be a good attorney general.
Those who watch Kansas politics have expected him to run for higher office for all the years he has served in Topeka. Some will be a little disappointed that he has chosen to run for attorney general rather than governor, the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. He is, in this one opinion, as well qualified to serve in any of those positions as any of those who have filed for the offices. Indeed, better qualified than most.
But in this era of high-dollar politics, he would be hard put to raise enough money to compete for any of the top three posts. Those expected to win have war chests filled with lobbyist money from their years in Washington.
The attorney general post would give Schmidt more exposure statewide than he could gain as secretary of state and position him to move into a congressional race or try for the governor’s chair down the road.
He also may have taken the political temperature of the state and nation and decided that Kansas is very likely to stay overwhelmingly Republican in 2010. The incumbent, Steve Six, is expected to run for re-election. He was appointed to the position in 2008 as a Democrat by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and has never campaigned for a political office. While Six has performed well and had an excellent record as an attorney coming into the office, he has had no time to establish himself in the minds of the Kansas public and will most probably be out-spent and out-campaigned by Schmidt.
The other GOP candidate, Ralph DeZago, city prosecutor in Junction City, is a newcomer on the state political scene and would be well advised to keep his savings otherwise invested.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.