By Christopher Hutton, Breaking News Reporter
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed an attorney who helped former President Donald Trump try to overturn Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results as the next secretary of state.
Abbot announced the appointment of John Scott, who was briefly hired by the Trump campaign in its challenge of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Pennsylvania, to serve as the state’s chief foreign affairs adviser.
“John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and building the Texas brand on an international stage,” Abbott said in a statement on Thursday. “I am confident that John’s experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership over the biggest and most thorough election audit in the country. I am proud to appoint John as the Texas Secretary of State and look forward to working alongside him to ensure Texas remains the best state in the nation.”
If confirmed by the state Senate, Scott, former deputy attorney general for civil litigation under Abbott, would act as the chief officer overseeing the governor’s efforts to review Texas’s election laws.
On Nov. 13, 2020, Scott had signed on as counsel to a lawsuit filed by the Trump team to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election. A few days later, Scott filed a motion to withdraw from the case. One of Scott’s fellow attorneys said they bowed out of the case because a ruling from the federal appeals court “really just gutted our case.”
In the aftermath of several failed attempts from Trump allies to challenge the 2020 election results, many local officials, including Abbott, have promoted efforts to shore up election security. Last month, Trump called on Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election results, even though the former president won the state by a significant margin. The secretary of state’s office immediately announced plans to audit the results of four Texas counties.
Texas has not had a secretary of state since May 2021, when Ruth Hayes resigned after the Texas Senate declined to take up her nomination. The state Constitution allows the governor to appoint someone to fill the role until the next legislative session. The state Senate will have until the next regular legislative session, scheduled in January 2023, to appoint or reject Scott.