Two Democrats file to run for Douglas County district attorney

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, which houses Douglas County District Court and a number of other criminal justice services at 111 E. 11th St., is pictured April 8, 2020.

Two Lawrence attorneys are officially in the running to become the top prosecutor in Douglas County.

Cooper Overstreet, a defense attorney for the Swain Law Office, and Suzanne Valdez, a law professor at the University of Kansas, both filed to run for the Douglas County district attorney position through the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday, said Heather Dill, an elections official for the county.

Overstreet and Valdez, both Democrats, are the first to file for the position. The seat is currently held by District Attorney Charles Branson, who has been DA since January 2005. As of Thursday, Branson, a Democrat, has not filed to run for reelection.

photo by: Contributed Photo

Cooper Overstreet

Overstreet began working for the Swain Law Office in 2013 as a law clerk, according to the law office’s website. He passed the state bar exam in 2014 and subsequently began representing clients in court. Over the years, Overstreet has represented many defendants for various criminal cases in Douglas County District Court and other jurisdictions.

Prior to becoming a law professor at KU, Valdez was an attorney with Kansas Legal Services in Kansas City, Kan., according to the university. She has also served as a pro tem judge in Douglas County District Court and as a special prosecutor with the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office. Although she currently works as a law professor, she also maintains a part-time civil litigation practice, according to KU.

photo by: KU School of Law/Contributed Photo

Suzanne Valdez

The candidate filing and withdrawal deadline for the 2020 election is June 1, according to information on the county clerk’s website, The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 4.


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