State Watch

Republican Philadelphia elections official targeted by Trump resigning


A Republican elections official in Philadelphia who was singled out by former President Trump for defending the results of the 2020 presidential election is resigning from his post to join a government watchdog group.

Al Schmidt, the only GOP member of Philadelphia’s election board, announced on Tuesday that he is resigning as city commissioner to join the Committee of Seventy as its next president and CEO.

“It’s been an honor to serve the citizens of Philadelphia for the past ten years as City Commissioner,” Schmidt wrote on Twitter.

He will assume his new role at the watchdog organization on Jan. 3, according to a statement on the group’s website.

Schmidt, who was reelected as city commissioner in 2019, still has two years left in his term, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. He announced in January that he would not run for a fourth term in 2023.

The city commissioner thanked his staff, department employees and colleagues for their partnership during his tenure in “providing the voters of Philadelphia with well-run, secure elections.”

Schmidt was the target of criticism by Trump and others who rejected last year’s election results.

In a tweet days after the election was called for President Biden, Trump said Schmidt — whom he dubbed a RINO, or Republican in name only — was “being used big time by the Fake News Media to explain how honest things were with respect to the Election in Philadelphia.”

“He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty. We win!” he added in the tweet.

Trump’s comments came after Schmidt appeared on CNN to talk about the claims of voter fraud in the city, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Schmidt said he and his staff members had received death threats since the city started counting ballots for the 2020 presidential election. He testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about threats he received in the aftermath of the election, some of which involved his three young children.

During an interview on “60 Minutes,” he said he could not understand the controversy surrounding the counting of “eligible votes cast by voters.”

In November, he said “bad actors” were “lying” about the vote tabulation process.

Schmidt in January said the criticism he received for defending the integrity of the vote did not contribute to his decision not to seek reelection in 2023, adding that such a suggestions would “be like capitulating to the psychological terrorists,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In July, the Committee of Seventy revealed that David Thornburgh, its current president and CEO, who has served since 2014, would retire from his position in January, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He is reportedly moving to become a senior adviser to the group for matters involving drawing legislative district lines and the effort to make the city’s primaries open to voters who are not affiliated with a party.

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