State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, has defeated two Republican incumbents in his political career.
Not many Kansas Democrats can say that in this Republican-rich state.
On Wednesday, Holland said that he may run for governor.
“I’m actively considering it,” he said.
If he won the Democratic nomination, he would presumably face U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a well-financed politician who has a presidential run on his resume.
Could Holland, who has little name recognition outside his northeast Kansas district, mount a credible challenge?
“Tom Holland is a tough competitor,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka. “He puts his heart and soul into campaigns.”
Holland said he would make a decision soon.
Just 10 months from the November election, the Kansas Democratic Party is in need of a candidate.
Gov. Mark Parkinson, who came into office when former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was selected to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has said he will not run for election. Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates also considered running but took himself out of contention. Retired businessman Tom Wiggans, who only recently moved to Kansas, jumped into the race with Gates’ blessing, but then bowed out after news reports about a legal settlement involving his drug company raised questions.
Holland said he was not running simply to be a placeholder for the Democratic Party.
“If I made a decision to run, it will definitely be to win,” he said.
Holland represents the 3rd Senatorial District, which includes part of Douglas County, all of Jefferson County and Leavenworth County, except the cities of Leavenworth and Lansing. It covers the northern third of Lawrence and the communities of Baldwin City, Basehor, Easton, Eudora, Grantville, Linwood, McLouth, Meriden, Nortonville, Oskaloosa, Ozawkie, Perry, Tonganoxie and Valley Falls.
In 2008, Holland defeated incumbent Republican Roger Pine for the state Senate seat. In 2002, he defeated incumbent Republican Ralph Tanner for a House seat.
Holland is an information technology consultant. He and his wife, Barbara, have four children.
Last year, Holland was highly critical of the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., which was established to promote technology-based development. Holland and some other legislators said KTEC had lost its effectiveness. Lawmakers considered abolishing the agency, but then decided to fund it at a lower level. Later, Holland was appointed to serve on the KTEC board.
While in the House, Holland introduced and helped pass several tax cuts for senior citizens and businesses.