Supporters of McPherson attorney Brian Bina are running a write-in campaign for the candidate.
Bina was defeated by 65 votes in the Republican primary in August by incumbent David Page.
“I have given them my blessing,” Bina said, “but I am not actively going door to door. I do not have the time ...”
Bina admitted a write-in campaign is a long shot, but said, “I always think it is a possibility.”
Bina said if he was elected he would accept the position.
Page said he was aware some of his primary election opponent’s supporters are actively campaigning for a write-in challenge during the general election.
“After his primary election loss, Brian said something to the effect of how he accepted the will of the voters as expressed at the polls, so I respect his decision to not actively campaign as a write-in candidate,” Page said.
McPherson County Commissioner and former sheriff Harris Terry is one of the supporters leading the Bina write-in push.
Terry served as the treasurer of Bina’s committee in the primary and will continue to do so during the general election.
Terry, as a former law enforcement official, said he and others in the community have concerns about the functioning of the county’s judicial system under Page.
He said cases are being brought to the county attorney’s office, but not prosecuted, and other cases are being plea bargained for greatly reduced sentences.
Terry accused Page and his attorneys of not being adequately prepared for cases and jeopardizing the integrity of the judicial system and safety of the McPherson community.
Sheriff Larry Powell echoed Terry’s concerns about Page.
Powell and McPherson Police Chief Robert McClarty both financially supported Bina in his primary election run.
“I and other members of law enforcement feel work is not getting done and cases are being dismissed,” he said. “It is not just law enforcement. The general public is not happy with what is going on.”
Powell also expressed concerns about cases not being prosecuted or being plea bargained.
“I think it is really hard for the officers who really work hard to put cases together, and then nothing gets done. It gets plea bargained down,” Powell said.
Page rebuked the attacks that he was not adequately prosecuting cases.
“This accusation simply has no basis in fact. Statistical data compiled by the Kansas Supreme Court shows the number of cases I have filed since taking office in 2009,” he said.
He related in an email that he had
• Filed 16 percent more criminal cases per year, with a record number of criminal cases having been filed in 2011.
Page 2 of 2 - • Convicted 48 percent more DUI offenders through guilty pleas, which doesn’t include those DUI offenders found guilty at a bench trial, jury trial or those first-time offenders placed on diversion
• Prosecuted 35 percent more traffic cases per year, with a record number of cases having been filed in 2010.
Page also disputed the notion he had accepted plea bargains on too many cases.
“(Plea bargaining) is simply an empty political phrase used by some people to try and confuse voters,” he said. “All convictions in a court of law without a trial are based upon some type of agreement between the parties and could be referred to as plea bargains.
“This does not indicate that charges are reduced or a sentence is minimized.”
Page said he prosecutes cases based on the evidence, the desires of the victims and their families, and what is best for the community.
On the issue of communication, Page said he has made himself available 24/7 to law enforcement, including giving officers his cell phone number. He has set up a Google calendar system that alerts officers of court dates and said he encourages officers when they go beyond what is expected.
Page said his strategy will not change for the general election despite Bina’s re-entrance into the race as a write-in candidate.
“I am the Republican nominee, and I will be the only candidate listed on the ballot for the office of the McPherson County attorney,” he said.
No Democratic candidates are running for the office.
In order to vote for Bina as a write-in, voters must fill in the write-in bubble for county attorney on the ballot then write Bina’s name on the line beside it.