Senate president backs Warren in AG’s race

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Senate President Ty Masterson and top GOP leaders in the Senate on Tuesday came out in support of state Sen. Kellie Warren for attorney general.

Masterson along with Vice President Rick Wilborn, Majority Leader Larry Alley and Assistant Majority Leader Renee Erickson announced their support for Warren.

It was Masterson’s first public endorsement of any candidate running for office next year.

“From the moment she set foot in the Kansas Senate, Kellie Warren has been a focal point for conservative success,” Masterson said in a statement.

Masterson credited the Leawood lawmaker for helping win passage of a constitutional amendment that would reverse a state Supreme Court ruling that found the right to an abortion is protected by the state constitution.

The amendment is on the ballot next August.

Masterson also praised her – as chair of the Senate Judiciary committee – for opposing the governor’s “liberal appointees” and limiting the governor’s executive powers.

“Kellie Warren understands the times we are in and is unafraid to take on the battles that are coming our way,” Erickson said in a statement.

“In today’s political and legal battlefield, we need Kellie Warren on our side.”

The support from Masterson and other leading Republicans in the Senate helps bolster Warren’s conservative credentials going into next year’s crowded primary election.

Warren is already going up against former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been a favorite of conservatives in the past although it is uncertain how much of that shine has worn off after losing races for governor and the U.S. Senate.

In announcing the endorsements, the Warren campaign touted a straw poll that the senator won at the Olathe Republican Party picnic last month.

Warren grabbed about 73% of the vote to 27% for Kobach, who has won the Olathe poll overwhelmingly in the past.

Kobach has announced support from former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who the candidate worked for at the Justice Department in the early 2000s.

Kobach also has the support of 10 Kansas sheriffs and David Barton, the founder of Wallbuilders, an organization “dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which the country was built.”

Also in the race is former career federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi, who has a record of trying cases against terrorists and has the suppport of the state Kansas State Troopers Association political action committee.