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With focus on voter fraud, Hoskins launches run for Missouri’s top election post

Jul 18, 2023

Sen. Denny Hoskins, left, R-Warrensburg, and Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, talk on the last day of the legislative session on Friday, May 12, 2023, on the Senate floor in Jefferson City.

JEFFERSON CITY — A Republican state senator from Warrensburg is running for Missouri Secretary of State in the 2024 election.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, who has been in the Senate since 2017, told the Post-Dispatch Tuesday that he wants to focus on "election integrity" if elected, which could include a renewed push for new laws affecting voter identification, rules about drop boxes for ballots and a voter fraud hotline.

"We need someone in the Secretary of State's office who will fight for Missouri and stand up to ensure the integrity of our election system. I am proud to have supported legislation to protect Missourians from voter fraud and make our state's elections among the most transparent in the nation," said Denny Hoskins.

The office currently is held by term-limited Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican who is running for governor.

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller, who was the GOP nominee for Secretary of State in 2012, earlier announced he is running for the post. Schoeller, 51, formerly served in the House, ascending to the speaker's role for a short time following the resignation of former House Speaker Steve Tilley in 2012.

Schoeller also served as executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.

Senate President Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, also is considering a run.

Democrat Rep. Alan Gray of Black Jack has filed paperwork to run for the post.

As secretary of state, Hoskins would oversee elections in the state. Many of his positions mirror a push by Republicans nationally to raise questions about elections in the wake of former President Donald Trump's debunked accusations that he won the 2020 election.

Hoskins introduced legislation this year that would create an Office of Election Crimes and Security, which would review complaints and conduct investigations into alleged violations of election laws. The proposal did not advance.

He said he supports Ashcroft's recent decision to pull Missouri out of a bipartisan voting partnership known as the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

ERIC is designed to help states catch people who votes in more than one state, which is illegal. Election officials say it helps identify dead people on voting lists.

Ashcroft said he was leaving the pact because "only three of the eight states that border Missouri are members."

Hoskins also wants to allow counties to hand count paper ballots after an election, which election experts say is something less accurate than allowing tabulation machines to handle that duty.

Hoskins, 48, also served in the House beginning in 2009. He is a member of a conservative faction of senators in the upper chamber.

During the most recent legislative session, Hoskins was blamed for his role in disrupting the final days in pursuit of a failed expansion of gambling that included legalizing video lottery machines and sports betting.

He also sponsored a controversial rural tax credit program panned by critics because it might have benefited one major Missouri property developer. It failed to win final approval before the session ended in mid-May.

On the campaign trail, Hoskins said he would highlight Republican wins on issues like tax cuts, a ban on abortion, guns and limits on transgender care for minors.

He is the second member of the former Conservative Caucus to wade into the 2024 election. Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, is considering a bid for governor.

Hoskins enters the primary race with $96,000 in his personal campaign account. An affiliated political action committee has raised $107,000 to support him.

Hoskins was born in Jefferson City. He graduated from Central Missouri State University with a degree in accounting.

He also served in the Missouri Army National Guard until 2000.

He resides in Warrensburg with his wife, Michelle. They are the parents of five children.

Take a look at some of the video highlights of 2022 from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff.

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