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Texas Secretary of State explains decision to resign

While bombshell news to many Texans, John Scott says it was no secret in Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas — Secretary of State John Scott made clear on Inside Texas Politics that his decision to resign from office at the end of the year – just before the start of the 2023 legislative session – was a strategic one.

And anyone who’s lived in Austin understands his tongue-in-cheek reply.

“It’s the perfect time to take off, actually. As you spend a lot of time down in Austin, there’s no better time to be out of Austin than at the legislative session time,” Scott told us while smiling on Inside Texas Politics. “So, this is a good time for transition into a new Secretary of State.”

For many Texans, the news came as a bombshell. But Scott says he didn’t make it a secret in Austin.

“There was never a belief that I was going to do this in a long term way. We were going to get through the audit. We were going to build up a forensic audit division. And we’re going to get through the elections and do everything we could to make sure that we brought a comfort level back and hopefully reduce the temperature in the room on a lot of the issues out there,” he said.

That “audit” is the second and final phase of the review of the 2020 Presidential election in Texas, which will be released before he leaves office on Dec. 31. 

Phase one of the audit, which is reviewing Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin counties, was completed about a year ago and found no substantial issues and few discrepancies.

Scott began serving as Secretary of State on Oct. 28, 2021, after being appointed by Governor Greg Abbott. The Governor has named retiring state Senator Jane Nelson, a Republican from Flower Mound, as Scott’s replacement.

And now that he’s had more than a year on the job, he says he still thinks the Secretary of State should be appointed, as opposed to elected as they do in dozens of other states.

“I think it shouldn’t become a hyper-partisan position where somebody’s trying to make sure and looking at raising money and looking at what are the sound bites that are going to be most beneficial to my next election,” Scott said. “I think it should be about trying to do the right thing. And I think that’s the beauty of an appointed position.”

Scott lives in Fort Worth and plans to return to his private legal practice once he leaves office.

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