COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The secretary of state is moving offices for the first time in nearly two decades – at least. A spokesperson for the secretary of state said the search for a new building was prompted because their current lease is ending.

According to the secretary’s controlling board request, the office said they are making the move to “improve its operational efficiency and security protocols.”

Right now, the office is on 180 E. Broad Street, but they are making a move to a new building on Civic Center Drive. It is the same address that Secretary of State Frank Larose (R-Ohio) lists for his U.S. Senate campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission

The move to the same building his campaign is listed at is raising red flags for some, like State Senator Bill DeMora (D-Columbus).

“Both Democratic and Republican secretary of states have been in that office for years, so all of a sudden now they have to move because Frank LaRose has to be close to his campaign — I don’t know how else to explain it,” DeMora said.

Three other office buildings were considered. At least two of the other options are closer to the Statehouse or Capitol Square. NBC4 did ask why none of those buildings were chosen, a spokesperson said, “no reasons other than a better space and less money.”

The move to the new building will cost $400,000 up front, in taxpayer dollars, to “to prepare and ready the space for the Office of the Secretary of State.” Plus, an additional $200,000 over the next two years for that same purpose.

“The total cost of tenant improvements to prepare and ready the space for the Office of the Secretary of State is $800,000. The Landlord will pay $400,000 towards the cost of the improvements,” the Secretary of State’s request to the Controlling Board reads. “The SOS will pay make a one-time lump sum payment of $400,000.00 for FY 2023 and reimburse the Landlord $200,000.00 as additional rent over the FY 2024-2025 biennium.”

Overall — the annual rent will go down from their current building by $11,124.

According to Ohio Checkbook, the Secretary of State’s E. Broad St. offices cost $772,905 each year, the new annual cost will be $761,781.

Despite the move being legal and despite the cost saving, DeMora said he thinks LaRose should have picked a different option, not related to his U.S. Senate campaign.

“It’s not illegal under the definition of the law. But it doesn’t pass the smell test,” DeMora said. “Do you know how many office spaces are empty in downtown Columbus right now, since the pandemic?”