Topeka — Atty. Gen. Phill Kline is racking up endorsements even though he hasn't announced a bid for a second term.
Kline said Monday in Topeka that he has the support of 89 of the state's 104 county sheriffs, including eight of 13 Democrats.
Kline, a Republican, was elected to his first term in 2002.
He was joined in a brief news conference by sheriffs from Shawnee and Pratt counties, as well as former Kansas Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan.
"It's really humbling for me," Kline said of the re-election support.
So far, Kline doesn't have any Republican challengers in the August primary, but he does have a Democratic opponent for the November general election.
Johnson County Dist. Atty. Paul Morrison announced last month that he would seek the Democratic nomination for attorney general, switching parties to run against Kline. Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning was not one of the 89 sheriffs endorsing Kline.
"I don't find that to be particularly surprising, because those are political endorsements," Morrison said. "I think many of them, in the end, are going to support me."
Morrison said many law enforcement officials, especially in rural areas, were heavily dependent on the attorney general's office for support.
He said these officials may feel obligated to endorse the person currently in office.
Morrison said he expected "solid support" from a number of county prosecutors in the election.
He has said he would remain district attorney during the campaign.
"I won't have everybody, but I anticipate having a majority of the prosecutors," he said. "Most would support a professional prosecutor over a professional politician."
Kline said he would make a formal announcement about his campaign in the coming months.
He said Monday that he would focus on the efforts of his office to protect children, crack down on the production of methamphetamines and extend the statute of limitations for most crimes.
In December, Kline will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision that struck down the state's death penalty statute.
He is also in the midst of an inquisition into possible sex crimes involving child victims.
The Kansas Supreme Court is considering whether to grant a Shawnee County District Court judge's request to subpoena records from two abortion clinics - records Kline has said were necessary to conduct his investigation.
Kline served in the Kansas House for eight years and has run unsuccessfully for Congress in the 3rd District, which covers Douglas, Johnson and Wyandotte counties.