Wichita 2:45 p.m.
Gov. Mark Parkinson today said he expects a Democratic candidate for governor to announce within the next few weeks. Parkinson, who has vowed he will not seek the office in 2010, told reporters that he has encouraged Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates to run.
Gates said he was seriously considering the race but didn’t say when he would announce a decision.
Earlier in a speech to about 250 people at Demofest, Parkinson acknowledged that Kansas Democrats are nervous about the 2010 election, but said he was confident the party’s candidates would do well.
“Those who are predicting 14 months out that we will have a bad year in 2010, in my opinion, they will be sorely disappointed,” he said.
He said Democrats have strong candidates and stand for the best ideas, such as support of public schools and universities.
State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, is considering a run for the Democratic Party nomination for the 2nd congressional district.
His name was mentioned several times at Demofest on Saturday, and when contacted by the Lawrence Journal-World, Holland said he was giving the contest serious consideration.
He said people have asked him to consider the race because they are unhappy with the partisanship of U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, who is in her first term.
State Sen. Chris Steineger, D-Kansas City, says he is still considering a run for governor in 2010.
Steineger said today during a brief interview at Demofest that in his travels across the state, Kansans are concerned about the economy and the extremely partisan political tone.
He said he has no timetable on when he will announce a decision. U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is running for the Republican Party nomination. State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates has been considering whether to run.
Steineger said if Gates jumped into the race, that doesn't mean he would bow out. A contested Democratic Party primary would be good, Steineger said, because it would allow for a debate of the issues.