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Texas governor appoints lawyer who represented Trump in 2020 election challenge as secretary of state

Texas' new secretary of state is John Scott, a lawyer who briefly represented former President Donald Trump during a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

Scott was appointed Thursday by Gov. Greg Abbott (R); the two worked together when Abbott was state attorney general. The secretary of state position must be confirmed by the State Senate, but since lawmakers won't be in regular session again until 2023, Scott will be able to serve in the interim.

Trump sent Abbott a letter last month urging him to review the 2020 presidential election in Texas — where Trump won by more than 5 percentage points — telling him he's heard "Texans want an election audit!" Abbott ordered a review of four of the most populous counties in the state — Dallas and Harris counties, which are reliably Democratic, and Tarrant and Collin, which have been moving away from the GOP, The New York Times reports. There has been no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.

Scott's responsibilities include running the review and overseeing Texas elections. Based in Fort Worth, Scott signed on in November to help represent the Trump campaign when it filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania over the election results, but he withdrew the day before a key hearing in the case, which was later dismissed.  

Democrats and voting rights organizations have both denounced Scott's appointment. Stephanie Gomez, Texas associate director for Common Cause, slammed Abbott for picking someone to oversee the 2022 elections who does not have to face confirmation hearings. Scott, she added, is a "completely unsuitable nominee."