I’m blessed beyond comprehension. 2015 has been an interesting, roller coaster year. To start, Judge Richard Ballinger passed away. I’d been considering running for judge in 2016, but until that dreadful news I hadn’t seriously considered such a dramatic change in career direction. A friend called me and asked if I’d thought about applying for the interim appointment. No. But he pointed out to me that if positions opened before campaign season began they might fill up too soon, leaving my 2016 plans tabled forever. So I applied. A couple months later I sat in Governor Brownback’s office discussing strict constructionist jurisprudence and the benefits of limited government. Despite enjoying the governor’s conversation, I didn’t get the appointment.
A few months later I was in a similar position, but this time, although I was on the short list again, I didn’t get to see the governor. It went to another candidate. Again, I was the proverbial bridesmaid.
I filed for a contested division shortly after my second disappointment and started to build a campaign team. Lots of lawyers got on board. All my non-lawyer friends did too. I even sent out five hundred attorney endorsement letters to members of the Wichita Bar. I’d planned on sending out more, but then something unexpected happened. Eric Yost retired from the bench and took a job as county counsellor. At first I didn’t want to submit my name for the 12th division, but after the judicial ethics panel recommended a very light sanction of Judge Timothy Henderson despite the seriousness of the allegations against him, a trusted friend suggested I go for it, so I did.
Two months later I sit in a much different place than I did after the last two judicial interview disappointments. Gov. Brownback called me personally to offer me the appointment after considering several well-qualified candidates, all friends of mine that I respect and admire greatly. All those on the short list reached out to congratulate me, for which I am grateful. What gracious, professional people! The fact is there are other open positions that these lawyers would do well in, and I hope they file in those divisions soon (including division 24, the one I filed in before). Yet, those cards have yet to be played, so I am issuing a call to action to my supporters.
This may feel like the war is won but it is just the first battle.
I will still have to campaign to make it through the 2016 election cycle. Division 12, the one in which I will soon be the conservative Republican incumbent, is up for election in 2016. I promised Gov. Brownback that I would do what it takes to hold on to the seat. If that means spending tens of thousands of dollars of my family’s own resources, so be it. I’m hopeful that you will help just in case we have to fend off less conservative challengers. I don’t know how much money potential opponents are prepared to spend so I could use your help. You can help with financial donations, legwork, getting friends and neighbors on board, putting up yard signs everywhere you see open space, etc.
We need conservative judges who consider the Bill of Rights and Founding Fathers’ views of separation of powers and strict constructionist interpretation of the law by our courts sacred. In Sedgwick County that means electing men and women committed to these principles.
The ideal judges must also stand up for the most innocent and defenseless among us.
My family and I are committed to these values and would be honored by your support.
Individuals and non-Pac organizations can give up to $500 per candidate in contested primary elections, and another $500 in contested general elections. Campaign donations may be sent to “Kevin Mark Smith for Judge” at 1502 N. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67214.
Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you’d like to help. Since I’ll soon be sworn in as a judge, I haven’t ordered yard signs or new campaign materials yet. I’ll soon be running as “Judge Kevin Mark Smith” and not just “Kevin Mark Smith” so I’ll need to revise materials so everyone knows I will be the incumbent. Nonetheless, I will contact you and put you on the campaign team so we can call you to action soon.
Finally, for anyone interested, I’m tentatively planning my swearing in ceremony for 1-21-16 at 11 am. I believe they’re changing courtroom locales for division 12 so check back for the exact location. Please shoot me an an email if you plan to attend. There will be snacks and finger foods!
I might even talk my daughters into making a batch of their famous pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!
I leave you with my favorite proverb. “Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.” Pro. 16:9 (ESV). Amen.