Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Republican prosecutor switches parties, to challenge Phill Kline in general election

Morrison confirms he'll run as Democrat for Kansas attorney general:
Asked about his switch from a Republican to a Democrat, Morrison said there wasn’t a Democratic or Republican way to prosecute a case and said he would take a bipartisan approach to running the office.

“This is a deeply personal decision for me that has been a long time in the making,” he said. “In fact, this decision to do this is something I’ve been pondering well in excess of a year.”

Morrison said he believed the focus of the Democratic Party in Kansas was better on the issue of public safety “and I feel most comfortable with it.”
TfK will try to chat with him about this. Obviously, running for AG is a decision he'd think about for a long time, but switching parties may be more momentous on some level.

The falling stock of the President and Republicans in Congress make these sorts of switches more likely. That Kansas would be heading up this trend is a surprise, but a pleasant one.

I'll be finding out more about Morrison before I express unqualified joy at his candidacy.

Although never mentioning Kline by name, Morrison said it was time to put the office of attorney general in the hands of a prosecutor and not a politician.



Morrison, who has been Johnson County’s district attorney for almost 17 years, emphasized his career as a prosecutor. He said that he has tried more than 100 criminal cases and that many of those were difficult murder prosecutions. As attorney general, he said, he would try a few cases personally.



“My 98 percent jury trial conviction rate is a record I’m proud to place before the people of Kansas, and ask if a stronger, more effective attorney general can better serve them than the one we have today,” he added.

Asked about his switch from a Republican to a Democrat, Morrison said there wasn’t a Democratic or Republican way to prosecute a case and said he would take a bipartisan approach to running the office.
Phill Kline has run his office in an incredibly and explicitly partisan way. Whether it was meeting with only the creationist school board members (some of whom were campaign contributors), demanding access to medical files from family planning clinics, suing to stop Medicaid for covering abortions, describing himself as "a religious, right-wing wacko," or using urban legends as proof of the need for tort reform, he has not been a credit to the state or his office, and I hope to see him replaced.

Update: Here is the text of Morrison's remarks.