Kansas City lawyer Kristie Welder confirmed this week that she was looking at running for Kansas attorney general next year.
Welder, the wife of former 3rd Congressional District candidate Brent Welder, is the first Democrat to officially say they were looking at the race.
Former Secretary of State Kris Kobach has already announced he was running for attorney general.
House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch, state Sen. Kellie Warren and Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson all have expressed interest in running as well.
A crowded Republican field is expected to play into Kobach’s hands since his name ID is high among GOP primary voters compared to the other possible candidates.
A Kobach candidacy is expected to stir Democratic interest in the race given his polarizing background.
Welder said she has already had conversations with the Democratic Attorneys General Association, which has been looking for a candidate for Kansas.
“Our next attorney general needs a brain, a heart, and a spine – clearly, that’s not Kris Kobach,” Welder said in a statement to the Sunflower State Journal.
“So, I am considering running for Kansas attorney general to use the power of the law passionately, and compassionately, to fight for Kansas working families and fight against corruption and greed,” she said.
Welder now practices law in Missouri and would need to be licensed in Kansas.
State law requires every candidate for attorney general to be licensed to practice law within the state of Kansas.
Welder said with legal reciprocity, she could easily become licensed in Kansas. She noted that she’s already admitted to practice in federal court in Kansas.
State Supreme Court rules allow lawyers to get licensed in Kansas without taking the bar exam if they’ve been “lawfully engaged in the active practice of law” outside
the state for five of the seven years preceding the date of their application.
There are a number of other requirements, such as never having been professionally disciplined and being of “good moral character and mentally and emotionally fit to engage in the active and continuous practice of law.”
An Olathe native, Welder earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was executive editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
She received bachelor’s degrees in political science and English from the University of Rochester.
She has an extensive legal background with political experience working on the national field staff for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and was regional director for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2003.
She also worked as the Hispanic outreach field director for the Kansas Coordinated Campaign in 2002, directing 3rd Congressional District field operations in Hispanic communities for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore.
Welder said her interest in running started with an online petition drive that was recently launched to encourage Welder to run for attorney general.
“We need a candidate that has a track record of fighting for the rights of workers and everyday Kansans. I believe this person to be Kristie Welder,” Brennan Schartz posted on the site.
Welder sounded a similar theme in her statement.
“As a lawyer, I’ve seen close up that people don’t always get the justice they deserve – often, they get the justice they can afford,” she said.
“Every day, I fight to even the playing field. I’ve dedicated my life to fighting the Wall Street corruption that is crushing working families.”
She added, “I haven’t yet made a decision about this race. I am thinking, and praying, and meeting with trusted advisors. Thank you to everyone who has reached out. I promise that your family’s fight is my family’s fight.”