LANSING, Mich (AP) — Upper Peninsula state Rep. Beau LaFave is running for Michigan secretary of state in 2022.

The third-term Iron Mountain Republican announced his campaign on social media Monday, saying current Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s handling of the office is unacceptable. He cited a backlog of people seeking appointments over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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State Rep. Beau LaFave | Credit: Michigan House of Representatives

LaFave would have to secure the nomination at Republican conventions next spring and summer. Another candidate, Oak Park educator Kristina Karamo, has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and supports his false claims of election fraud.

LaFave represents the 108th District. He chairs the House’s Military, Veterans & Homeland Security committee and vice chairs the Judiciary Committee.

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A vocal supporter of the Second Amendment and accessibility to hunting for those with disabilities, LaFave was critical of Benson’s decision to ban open carry at polling locations on Election Day in 2020,” calling it “appalling” and “fearmongering.”

Over the pandemic, Benson halted walk-in appointments at branch offices and has encouraged residents to use online services and schedule in-person appointments online. The Republican-led Legislature has pushed her to allow walk-ins without an appointment.

LaFave wrote in his announcement posts, “Today, I announce my campaign to OPEN THE OFFICES!”

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