Lawrence attorney and longtime Democratic Party worker Dan Watkins has taken his name out of consideration for an appointment by President Barack Obama to U.S. attorney.
“I think it fits best for me to keep doing what I’m doing,” Watkins said Wednesday.
Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that Watkins, who served last year as Obama’s senior campaign adviser in Kansas, confirmed that he was recommended for the job but that Obama had not yet made a nomination.
But Watkins said Wednesday that the more he considered the job and his current situation, the more it made sense for him to stay put. “I like what I’m doing,” he said.
Watkins is a real estate attorney who also works as a court-appointed receiver for financially troubled companies.
Lawrence attorney Paul Davis, who is the top Democrat in the Kansas House, said the news was surprising because Watkins was really the only name that had surfaced for the job.
“I think Dan would have been an outstanding U.S. attorney, and I’m sorry that he won’t be serving in that capacity,” he said.
Davis said Watkins’ success with his law practice likely factored into his decision.
During the past several years, Watkins also has been a registered lobbyist for gambling interests at the Statehouse.
The U.S. attorney’s office has been headed by a series of temporary replacements since Eric Melgren resigned to take a federal judgeship in the final days of President George W. Bush’s presidency.
Lanny Welch is serving as interim U.S. attorney until the Senate confirms an appointee from Obama.
Because possible candidates who were interested in the job had initially deferred to Watkins, they will likely revisit whether they want to be considered, Davis said.