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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt has named a running mate in his race for the governor’s seat.

Schmidt announced Wednesday morning that Katie Sawyer will be his running mate and candidate for lieutenant governor. The duo officially filed their candidacy in Topeka.

If elected, Sawyer, 38, would be the youngest Republican lieutenant governor currently serving in America. From 1919 to 2019, only 10 different women have held statewide office, according to the League of Woman Voters of Kansas. Kansas has had only one female lieutenant governor; from 1995 to 1996 Sheila Frahm held that position.

“Katie Sawyer brings a new generation of young and energetic leadership to help us move Kansas forward to a bright and better tomorrow,” Schmidt said.

“I can’t wait to hit the campaign trail and share our positive vision for a brighter future for our state,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer previously worked at McPherson College, in marketing and business development, as managing editor of the McPherson Sentinel, and as a reporter at the Pittsburg Morning Sun.

According to a release from the Schmidt campaign, Sawyer is a graduate of Pittsburg State University and, along with her husband, is a fourth-generation owner and operator of their family farm in McPherson County. She and her husband are the parents of two young sons. 

She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and international studies from Pittsburg State University and a Master’s degree in strategic communications from Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

“In picking Katie Sawyer as his running mate today, Derek has elevated a strong voice from the next generation of Kansas leaders into a position of influence,” Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said.