Many political observers were sure it would happen, and now it has: State Attorney General Derek Schmidt has launched his campaign for governor.
Schmidt, 53, is the first major Republican to officially enter the race against Kelly in 2022.
Former Governor Jeff Colyer on Friday signaled his plans to run by naming a granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower as the treasurer for what he referred to as “our campaign.”
Schmidt has clashed with Kelly during the pandemic, including by objecting to her unsuccessful attempt last spring to restrict indoor religious services.
Schmidt also has increased his political profile by joining battles over the 2020 election.
He is also involved in legislative debates over gun rights, and has backed a proposal that would require high school students to pass a civics test to graduate.
Both Schmidt and Colyer are running as limited-government conservatives who oppose abortion, limits on gun rights, and an expansion of the state’s Medicaid health coverage.