AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott appointed a Fort Worth attorney as the 114th Texas Secretary of State, he announced Thursday.
John Scott, who worked for Abbott while he was the Texas Attorney General, takes over for Ruth Ruggero Hughs who resigned on May 31 after being appointed to the post in 2019. The Senate Nominations Committee never took up Hughs’ nomination after she was appointed, and since the Senate didn’t confirm her during the latest regular session, Hughs was constitutionally required to leave office.
Scott, from Fort Worth, was a deputy attorney general responsible for civil litigation under Abbott and was appointed the first chief operating officer of the Health and Human Services Commission. He has been an attorney for 33 years, a press release from Abbott’s office said.
KXAN news partner The Texas Tribune reported that Scott was one of the attorneys who helped former President Donald Trump try to challenge election results in Pennsylvania, which ultimately failed. Scott, along with two other attorneys, filed to withdraw from the case in November 2020 the day before the hearing, according to The Hill. Scott’s withdrawal request was approved.
The Texas Secretary of State is the Chief Election Officer for the state, assisting county elections staff and “ensuring the uniform application and interpretation of election laws throughout Texas.” The job also entails being a senior advisor to the Governor of Texas Border and Mexican Affairs and the state’s chief international protocol officer, which means Scott will represent Texas in meetings with international diplomats.
Abbott was able to appoint Scott without an immediate confirmation vote from the Senate, similar to how Hughs came into the job. Once the next regular legislative session begins, the Senate can hold a confirmation vote for Scott if it chooses.