Archive for Friday, May 19, 2006

Docking, McKinney not ruling out lieutenant governor spot, if asked

May 19, 2006

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— Two Democrats whose names have popped up most as potential running mates for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius aren't ruling out the idea, but neither has been asked yet to join the ticket.

In discussing Sebelius' choice, legislators, aides and political scientists have repeatedly named House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, of Greensburg, and businesswoman Jill Docking, of Wichita, as lieutenant governor possibilities.

The No. 2 spot on Sebelius' re-election ticket opened up when Lt. Gov. John Moore announced Wednesday that he wouldn't seek another four-year term.

Sebelius has until June 12 to name a running mate and file for office, but spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said Thursday the governor hopes to make an announcement by the end of the month.

As for who's in the running, Corcoran said, "I have seen no list."

McKinney's name surfaced several weeks ago as rumors began circulating that Moore had decided to retire. McKinney has served in the House since 1992 and as minority leader since 2003.

He said Thursday if Sebelius asked him, he'd have to consult his family and consider whether he could reorganize his farm.

"I'd have to take a day or so to figure it out," he said. "I'd have to check with my banker."

He also said he thinks Sebelius could do better by getting a running mate from a more populous area than southwest Kansas, such as Johnson or Sedgwick counties.

"I would be just very surprised if she asked me," McKinney said.

Docking ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996, losing a tough race to Republican Sam Brownback. However, her showing was strong enough for Democrats to keep her in mind as a statewide candidate since then.

And there's her last name. Her husband is Tom Docking, an attorney who served as lieutenant governor in 1983-87 and who was the Democrats' unsuccessful nominee for governor in 1986. His father, Robert, was governor in 1967-75, as was his grandfather, George, in 1957-61.

Jill Docking said she'd be honored to serve Sebelius "whatever way I could feasibly do it."

As for running for lieutenant governor, she said, "I don't know if it's the right way to serve Kathleen."

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