Archive for Thursday, July 25, 2002

Attorney general candidates ready for Republican primary election

Three candidates hope to move on to general election Nov. 5

July 25, 2002

Republican David Adkins said he believes whomever wins the Aug. 6 primary election will end up being the next Kansas attorney general.

The race for the position has already begun. Advance voting ballots were sent out Wednesday to people who requested them.

Adkins is one of three candidates vying for the Republican nomination. The other candidates for the position are Shawnee attorney Phill Kline and Topeka attorney Charles McAtee.

However, Kline said he won't make any predictions whether he'll win the primary or the general election.

"I don't presume or expect anything," he said. "I think our message is consistent with what Kansans feel."

McAtee said he plans to win the primary and the general elections.

"I expect to win," he said. "If qualifications count, I'll be the next attorney general."

Adkins, who was at a Wichita fund-raising event Tuesday afternoon, said voters should focus on candidate qualifications before they head for the polls.

"I think the qualifications are important," Adkins said. "We're hiring our state's chief lawyer. We should want someone who has a record of fighting violent crime.

"As a result of my background and experience, I would work everyday to make Kansas a safer place."

Adkins began his political career in the Legislature as a member of the Kansas House, where he served four terms.

He is currently a Kansas state senator.

As attorney general, Adkins said he would work to fight violent crime, maintain homeland security and protect Kansas consumers.

He said he expects to win the primary and general elections.

"I have to believe all the pieces are falling into place," Adkins said.

"I feel very good about our chances."

Both Adkins and one of his opponents, Kline, said their campaigns' polling information have them leading in the attorney general race.

After graduating from law school in 1987, Kline joined the firm of Blackwell Sanders in Overland Park. At the firm, he represented clients such as the state of California and a prison doctor from the Lansing Correctional Facility.

Kline also represented several area businesses, including Associated Wholesale Grocers, Black and Veatch, Emerson Electric and U.S. Engineering.

He was elected to represent Shawnee in the Kansas House of Representatives in 1992 and held that seat until 2000.

Like Adkins, Kline spent time campaigning this week. On Tuesday, he met with Wyandotte County Sheriff Leroy Green.

"Phill is the only candidate in the race dedicated to keeping violent criminals off the street," Kline press secretary Whitney Watson said.

Kline said the main platform for his attorney general campaign is fighting violent crime in Kansas.

"Kansas has grown in violent crime over the past four years," he said. "There aren't enough consequences to deter them."

Kline cited recent statistics in which Kansas ranked high in per capita murder, larceny and rape. And violent criminals that are paroled early are re-offending, he said.

"We must stop experimenting with public safety," Kline said.

McAtee has had a private law practice for the past 32 years.

"I've handled many jury trials over the past years in numerous Kansas counties," he said.

McAtee is a veteran of the Korean War. Following his military service, he attended law school and later joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He also served as assistant United States District Attorney under former Kansas Gov. John Anderson and as director of penal institutions.

As attorney general, McAtee said one of his chief concerns would be homeland security.

"I think that's going to be a critical issue to our country as well as to Kansas," he said.

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