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Archive for Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Wife seeks to challenge incumbent husband for judgeship

June 12, 2002

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— Mud-slinging isn't expected in this fall's race for a judgeship in Reno County.

That's because the challenge that District Judge Steve Becker could face if he wins his primary comes from his wife, Sarah Sweet-McKinnon, a public defender in Sedgwick County. They filed for the Reno County Division 3 seat Monday while in Topeka for the annual judge's conference.

"We spent the night together, then we went to the secretary of state's office and we both filed," Becker said, laughing.

It's a novel way, Becker acknowledged, to keep the judicial paycheck in the family.

"This puts a little different spin on the race, doesn't it?" the judge said. "She's interested in the job, and there are absolutely no hard feelings. We're both real comfortable with this."

Becker said his wife, who's running unopposed in the Aug. 6 Democratic primary, wants to serve her home county.

"We were discussing it, and she said, 'I ought to file for your position,' " Becker said.

Becker said his reaction to the idea was positive.

"I have so much respect for her," he said. "No question she'd do a good job on the bench. I can't think of any reason why she shouldn't file, and it's certainly not my position to stand in the way of her career."

Sweet-McKinnon was attending seminars Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Becker's most immediate challenge, in the Republican primary, is from Thomas Stanton of the Reno County District Attorney's Office. If Becker wins the nomination, he'll face his wife in the November general election.

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