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Schmidt picks US senator's aide for Kansas governor ticket


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Presumed Republican nominee Derek Schmidt on Wednesday announced that he's chosen a staffer for one of Kansas' two U.S. senators as his running mate in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Schmidt filed the necessary paperwork to get him and Katie Sawyer on the ballot for the Aug. 2 primary, where he faces no major opposition.

The 38-year-old Sawyer is state director for U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and worked on Marshall's congressional staff before his election to the Senate in 2020. Schmidt told reporters that he expects Sawyer to be a key adviser if he's elected, helping him stay informed of people's views on issues.

Kansas lieutenant governors have little formal role in state government other than duties assigned to them by governors, such as Lt. Gov. David Toland serving as state commerce secretary. But over the past 20 years, two of the state's five governors have left office early, elevating their lieutenant governors to the top position.

Before working for Marshall, Sawyer worked in marketing and business development at McPherson College in her hometown, as managing editor of the McPherson Sentinel and a reporter at The Pittsburg Morning Sun. She and her husband operate a farm.