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2018 Election Preview: Attorney General of Kansas

Candidate for attorney general centers campaign on criminal justice reform

This article is part of our series previewing 2018 local elections

Daniel Nichanian

Sarah Swain, a defense attorney and the Democratic nominee for attorney general in Kansas, has centered her platform on criminal justice reform. A new profile in the Topeka Capital-Journal focuses on her criticism of the war on drugs and her support for policies and programs that would decrease incarceration over drug offenses. “I believe mass incarceration is a failed experiment,” Swain said.

In answering a questionnaire prepared by the Capital-Journal, Swain writes about her support for legalizing marijuana and abolishing the death penalty. Swain’s Republican opponent, incumbent Attorney General Derek Schmidt, opposes both proposals.

Schmidt was already favored since Kansas typically votes Republican. But Swain’s chances got even tougher in June when Democratic leaders stopped supporting her after a report that she hanged a poster in her office that shows Wonder Woman with a tight lasso around the neck of a police officer. (As of Oct. 23, Swain is not included on the state Democratic Party’s candidates page.) In a statement, Swain said that the poster speaks to the “less-than-honest police officers” she has witnessed in her work as a defense attorney, and that it depicts a “lasso of truth” and “the rigors of cross-examination.”