Topeka, KS – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has become the longest-serving attorney general currently in office in the United States, a position he will hold until his term concludes on January 9.
That happens because both former Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who first was elected in 1978, and former Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who first was elected in 2002, left office earlier this week. Prior to their departures, Schmidt, who began his first of three four-year terms on January 10, 2011, had been the third longest-serving attorney general currently serving in office.
“Well, there’s no prize for this milestone, but it’s a fun bit of trivia,” Schmidt said. “And more substantively, it once again underscores the great privilege of having served as Kansas attorney general these past 12 years and the honor of having earned Kansans’ trust in three straight elections for the office. Thank you, Kansas.”
This is believed to be the first time a Kansas attorney general has been the nation’s longest tenured while in office. For nearly 60 years, that position was occupied either by Iowa’s Miller or by Frank Kelley of Michigan, who served from 1961 until 1999.
When Schmidt’s term of office ends next Monday, Alan Wilson of South Carolina will become the nation’s longest serving attorney general still in office. Wilson began his service two days later than Schmidt in January 2011.
With 12 years of service, Schmidt is the second longest-serving of the 44 people who have served as state attorney general in Kansas history. Only the late Bob Stephan served longer at 16 years.
In 2017, Schmidt became the fourth Kansan to serve as president of the National Association of Attorneys General since the organization was founded in 1907. The others were Harold Fatzer (1952-53), Stephan (1985-86) and Carla Stovall (2001-02). Schmidt also received the organization’s prestigious Kelley-Wyman Award in 2019, which honors a state or territory attorney general for his or her outstanding professional contributions to the office and the role of attorneys general nationwide.