Texas governor picks veteran GOP lawmaker for elections job

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday tapped a longtime Republican lawmaker to be Texas' new elections chief, a pick who could enjoy a smoother confirmation process following the blowback and scrutiny his two previous picks faced.

Jane Nelson, a state senator who didn't seek reelection last month, hasn't been a divisive figure in the Legislature and gives Abbott a candidate with a strong path to confirmation in the state Senate chamber where she served for 30 years.

The announcement followed the resignation of Texas Secretary of State John Scott, whose appointment in 2021 came under immediate criticism over his brief stint as a lawyer on former President Donald Trump's legal team. Scott was preceded by David Whitley, a former Abbott aide who resigned before he could be forced out of office after calling into the question the U.S. citizenship of thousands of voters based on flawed data.

“Voters expect fair elections with accurate, timely results, and I am committed to making that happen,” Nelson said in a statement.

Nelson is a former teacher from suburban Dallas and held a long stint as the senate's chief budget writer. The Texas secretary of state's office is still in the process of completing a limited audit of the 2020 election despite no evidence of widespread fraud.