Warren fights back with law enforcement support

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Republican Kansas Attorney General candidate Kellie Warren on Wednesday claimed a law enforcement endorsement less than two days after a former career prosecutor revealed his intentions to join the field.

Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden on Wednesday came out in support of Warren, a state senator who is now battling former Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Mattivi and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach for the GOP nomination for attorney general.

Mattivi hasn’t officially filed for office although he has appointed a treasurer so he could start raising money for the race.

Calvin Hayden

“Kansas law enforcement could ask for no better friend and ally in the attorney general’s office than Sen. Kellie Warren,” Hayden said in a statement.

“I know we can trust Kellie to always back the blue and support our brave men and women in uniform.

“As attorney general, she will be a respected and capable leader who we can trust to keep our families safe, run a highly efficient and organized office and aggressively fight back against radical ideas like defunding the police,” he said.

The endorsement effectively is an attempt to build law enforcement support against a candidate who has a record of fighting terrorism and already has the support of Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett.

Tony Mattivi

Tony Mattivi, a former assistant U.S. attorney from 1998 to 2020, announced on Monday that he intended to run for attorney general.

Mattivi had worked for  Kansas U.S. attorneys during several Republican and Democratic administrations, including Stephen McAllister, Barry Grissom, Eric Melgren and Jackie Williams.

Two were appointed by Republican presidents and two by Democratic presidents.

Mattivi was the antiterrorism and national security coordinator while working for the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas.

Mattivi spent more than four years as the trial counsel in the prosecution of  Abd Al-Rahim Hussain Muhammed Al-Nashiri, who was charged with masterminding the attack that killed 18 on the U.S.S Cole destroyer in 2000.

Mattivi prosecuted Terry Lee Loewen, the former U.S. Marine who pled guilty to
attempting to detonate a van filled with high explosives at the Wichita airport on behalf
of al Qaeda during the Christmas travel season.

He also prosecuted John T. Booker, who pled guilty to trying to detonate a truck bomb at the base hospital on Fort Riley on behalf of the Islamic State.

He also headed a team of Justice Department prosecutors who convicted three Kansas militia members for plotting to blow up an apartment building with more than a
100 Somali Muslim refugees as they worshipped in their mosque.

“We need a person with experience in that office,” Bennett said in an interview  explaining his support for Mattivi.

“It takes a steady hand. It takes experience and it takes knowledge of the laws that apply,” Bennett said.

“We have had for the last several terms an attorney general who has had a calm influence on that office and surrounded himself with professionals,” he said.

“Prosecutors and law enforcement around the state has benefitted from the fact that we’ve had a professional person whose largely been apolitical in the handling of that office,” he said.

Earlier this week, Kobach announced support from David Barton, 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.”

Barton supported Kobach in the U.S. Senate race in 2020.