Police officer-turned-lawyer Chris Mann becomes first Democrat to enter attorney general race

Andrew Bahl
Topeka Capital-Journal
Chris Mann, a lawyer and former police officer, became the first Democrat to announce a bid for attorney general Tuesday.

Chris Mann, an attorney and former police officer, became the first Democrat to announce a campaign for attorney general Tuesday in a race where liberals hope the controversial presence of Kris Kobach could give them an opportunity.

Mann filed paperwork laying the groundwork for a run Tuesday and released a website and video promoting his campaign later in the day. 

In a statement announcing the run, Mann focused largely on issues of public safety and outlined his work to toughen penalties for drunk driving.

"In times like these, families need a champion in their corner. Not a politician, but a law enforcement officer focused on keeping people safe,” Mann said. “I’ll focus on the basics of law enforcement, protect our rights, protect our families and make Kansas a safer place to live.”

Mann worked as a police officer until he was struck by a drunken driver during a routine traffic stop, prompting him to obtain a law degree. He worked for the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office and the Kansas Securities Commission before starting his own law firm in 2016.

Kansas City, Mo., attorney Kristie Welder has expressed interest publicly in seeking the Democratic nomination but hasn't declared. 

While it has been a decade since Democrats held the attorney general's office, liberals have seen an opening in the race given the presence of Kobach, whose electoral record and controversial tenure as secretary of state could turn off moderate voters.

Other candidates on the Republican side include Sen. Kellie Warren, R-Lenexa, and former federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi.

A poll from the Remington Research Group released last week gave Kobach had a commanding 30-point lead, though over a third of voters remained undecided.

Andrew Bahl is a senior statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at abahl@gannett.com or by phone at 443-979-6100.