By BRUCE SCHREINER – Associated Press
Frankfort, Ky. (AP) — Republican Michael Adams, who oversaw Kentucky’s election amid a global pandemic and at one point struck a deal with the Democratic governor to boost voter participation, announced Friday that he will run for another term in 2023. as Secretary of State will pursue .
Adams said he is the candidate best suited to face future election-related challenges, warning that the “wrong person” in the job could “do real damage to our electoral process.” His strong words appeared to be a preemptive shot at his own party’s anti-establishment wing, which could potentially recruit a challenger for Adams in the GOP primary next spring.
Secretary of State campaigns across the country are gaining attention following former President Donald Trump’s attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and his endorsement of candidates for state election offices sympathetic to his views.
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During his tenure, Adams struck a deal with Democratic government leader Andy Beshear to try to protect the Kentuckians during their run in the 2020 election — before any COVID-19 vaccines were available. The two disagreed on other electoral issues during their tenure.
Adams, who specialized in suffrage as a lawyer, considered running for attorney general in 2023 but chose to seek another four-year term as Kentucky’s chief election officer. Adams was elected Secretary of State in 2019, beating former Miss America Heather French Henry.
“Based on my performance in this office, at the most difficult time in its history, I would like to be promoted to a higher position; but at this critical juncture I am needed at my current position,” Adams said announcing his reelection bid.
“No other candidate for Secretary of State could offer this record of achievement: expanded voting rights, improved election security,” he said.
Adams announced his campaign plans a day before the state’s biggest political event — the political speech at the Fancy Farm picnic in western Kentucky — a traditional rite of passage for statewide candidates in the Bluegrass state.
Adams, a conservative with strong ties to the Republican establishment, oversaw the Kentucky election during a turbulent period in the country.
He forged an agreement with the state’s Democratic governor that enacted temporary, pandemic rules to protect voters during the 2020 election. Widespread postal voting was allowed, and the November elections of that year included three weeks of personal early voting to avoid mass voting on Election Day.
A new Kentucky law enacted in 2021 withdrew from those amendments, but reflected bipartisan cooperation at a time of national conflict over restrictive electoral measures.
Kentucky law allows three days before Election Day to vote without excuses for three days before Election Day, including a Saturday. It also allows provinces to establish voting centers where any registered voter in any province can cast their vote, regardless of their district. It also included features aimed at strengthening election security. Adams supported the measure, saying it represented Kentucky’s most significant election law updates in more than a century.
In addition, Adams has said that more than 100,000 deceased voters were removed from the Kentucky electoral roll during his tenure.
No other candidate for secretary of state has filed paperwork with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance to raise money.
Putting an early note on the campaign, Adams said Friday that he would be better prepared than any other candidate to face “the challenges we face that we can’t even predict”.
“I don’t take this race for granted; nor anyone who wants fair, free, accessible and safe elections,” Adams said. “The wrong person winning this position can really hurt our electoral process.”
Adams said earlier this year that a group of fellow Republicans were spreading misinformation about voting procedures in Kentucky.
Adams has said he would support legislation next year to allow recount requests only from candidates who come within 1 percentage point of the winner. His comments came after at least six GOP candidates from Kentucky’s primary in May this year petitioned for official ballot recounts, including candidates who lost by large margins. Adams has not publicly responded to Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
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