Jan 5, 2023 - News

Josh Shapiro to nominate Al Schmidt as Pennsylvania secretary of state

Al Schmidt

Al Schmidt testifies last June in Washington, D.C. at a hearing by the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

Philadelphia's Al Schmidt, who was the target of former President Donald Trump's ire during the 2020 election, was tapped as the state's top election official.

Driving the news: Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, announced on Thursday plans to nominate Schmidt, a Republican, as Pennsylvania's secretary of state, charged with overseeing elections in the commonwealth.

Why it matters: At a time when public trust in the electoral process is besieged by false claims of voter fraud, Schmidt is viewed by many as a reliable defender after overseeing the contentious 2020 election in Philly.

  • Pennsylvania is expected to be a key battleground state in the 2024 presidential election.

Zoom in: Schmidt is currently the president of the Committee of Seventy, an independent government watchdog group in the city.

  • He previously served as a Philadelphia city commissioner, a trio of elected officials who manage the city's elections, until late 2021.

What they're saying: "Schmidt has a proven track record of defending our democracy, protecting voting rights, and standing up to extremism — even in the face of grave threats," Shapiro said in a statement.

  • Schmidt said in a statement that he would work to ensure elections remain free and fair in the state.

What's next: Shapiro will be sworn in on Jan. 17. The state Senate will need to confirm Schmidt's nomination.

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