JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says he's not running for his current office again but won't say what he's running for next.
Hosemann, speaking Monday to the Capitol press corps and Mississippi State University's Stennis Institute of Government, said that after three terms in office, he has met his goals as secretary of state and thinks it's time to move on. The Republican said he still has "great interest" in the state and voters may see his name on a future ballot.
"I don't know that we won't be on the ballot somewhere, but I don't anticipate it being secretary of state's office," Hosemann said.
Hosemann wasn't saying whether he'd run for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's seat this November, the lieutenant governor's post in 2019 or something else — at least, not on Monday.
The Clarion Ledger reported last week that Hosemann indicated to schoolchildren touring the Capitol that he plans a campaign for lieutenant governor.
When asked by a reporter about the incident Monday, Hosemann joked, "Those were 10-year-old children and I trusted them."
Hosemann could also run for U.S. Senate this year after Cochran announced his intent to retire April 1.
The secretary of state also discussed his office's measures to prevent election hacking. He said his office uses protection including two-factor authentication, encryption and firewalls to guard Mississippi's statewide election management computer system.
Mississippi voting machines aren't connected to the internet and are thus less vulnerable to outside meddling, he said. Hosemann said no votes in Mississippi have been affected by hacking.
Hosemann said a bigger risk than altered ballots, though, is a public perception of election meddling and lack of confidence in voting systems.
"When they internally attempt to discredit both parties ... with salacious things on the internet, those are weakening the republican democracy," Hosemann said. "To me, that's the biggest risk we have."