Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Democrat unseats D.A. of 8 years

November 3, 2004


A political newcomer apparently succeeded Tuesday in ousting the county's top criminal prosecutor.

With all precincts reporting and only advance votes left to be counted, Democrat Charles Branson had a three-point lead over incumbent Republican Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney. Kenney acknowledged the deficit would be hard to overcome.

"It's been a hard-fought race," Branson said about 1 a.m. before the advance votes had been tallied. "I respect Chris ... If I win, I'm going to implement some things I think will be beneficial to Douglas County. It puts us in a new direction."

Kenney said it had been a privilege to serve in the office the past 15 years, both as district attorney and an assistant prosecutor.

"I feel very good about the job I've done for the county," she said. "No matter what, it will be my intention to ensure that the workings of the office are disrupted as little as possible."

Kenney said she didn't regret her campaign decision to focus on her own record instead of attacking Branson.

"I was disappointed to see the numbers, but I knew that this was going to be a very hard-fought race, and I assumed all along that it would be close," she said.

Kenney, who spent Tuesday morning picking a jury for a first-degree murder trial, hadn't been challenged since taking office in 1996. She cast herself as, by far, the more experienced of the two and pointed out that Branson had never prosecuted a jury trial.

Branson is a private-practice attorney who's handled traffic offenses and misdemeanors as part-time Eudora city prosecutor. He acknowledged he had work to do becoming familiar with pending cases, including three first-degree murder cases.

Douglas County dist. attorney
¢ Charles Branson 23,622 53 %
Christine Kenney 21,056 47 %
67 of 67 precincts reporting

"I've had to get up to speed on major cases before in a short amount of time," he said.

Branson ran on a platform to start a consumer-protection office, try cases personally, and improve services for victims and witnesses. He also attacked Kenney's courtroom performance and office budget.

One of the major issues of the campaign was Branson's repeated claim that Kenney had failed to win a guilty verdict in more than half of the felony trials so far this year.

A closer look found Kenney's actual conviction rate this year to be either 54 percent or 75 percent, depending on how the numbers are counted.

Overview Unofficial election results Douglas County precinct map Election Day 2004 feedbacktext Kids Voting ResultsCounty Democrat unseats D.A. of 8 years Former mayor defeats Buhler in Senate race Embattled district judge stays on bench McElhaney survives short-lived deficit Record number of voters cast their ballots in county Douglas County kids choose Kerry Politicians, supporters share 'crazy' election-night revelry Voters approve Perry-Lecompton bond issue Township lacks candidatesState Moore fends off another challenge Ryun wins contentious 2nd District Congress seat Brownback easily defends his U.S. Senate seat Holland inches past GOP challenge Pine takes 3rd District Senate seat Wagnon wins State Board of Education race Seven incumbents lose; GOP pads majority in House Voters deny sales tax for K.C. arena Bush wins Kansas handily Kansans show they're satisfied with Bush Counties see high voter turnout Election briefsNational Too close to call President 'upbeat' on election returns Kerry sentimental as race nears end Analysis: Emotions guided presidential voting Networks use care in reporting results New media throw caution to the wind Presidential race prompts late selloff State by state results: Midwest State by state results: West State by state results: Northeast State by state results: South California backs stem-cell research Voters in 11 states approve gay-marriage bans GOP wins key states in South World riveted by U.S. electionMultimediaphoto Photo Gallery: Election Day 2004 6News video: Dennis Moore wins in a 'landslide' 6News video: Dennis Moore victory speech 6News video: Bob Johnson wins 2nd District County Commission position 6News video: Paula Gilchrist presumed Douglas County Treasurer 6News video: Ken McGovern wins sheriff's office 6News video: Jere McElhaney on the 3rd District Commissioner seat 6News video: Penrod optimistic about Douglas County Clerk position 6News video: Ermeling hopeful in 3rd District Commissioner race 6News video: Francisco likely to win 2nd Districtphoto Barbara Ballard talks about younger voters and their importance in this Barbara Ballard talks about being in Lawrence and Kansas on election Paul Davis talks about the importance of this election to the Kansas Paul Davis chooses his most important race in Paul Davis talks about the feeling among other Democrats in Gov. Kathleen Sebelius addresses the crowd at Abe 'N Jakes Landing.

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