TOPEKA — The Kansas State Troopers Association’s PAC and the Sedgwick County district attorney endorsed former federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi for attorney general.

Elsewhere in the Republican Party’s primary contest, 10 county sheriffs have placed their faith in Kris Kobach, the former secretary of state and unsuccessful candidate for governor.

And, Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden touted the GOP candidacy of one of his constituents, state Sen. Kellie Warren of Leawood, in the showdown for attorney general.

Early in the primary contest of August 2022, the three hopefuls continue to send signals of legitimacy by rolling out endorsements from the law enforcement community. It’s a time-tested approach of grabbing attention for candidates not well known to voters statewide or of offering assurances to voters who may be uneasy about established candidates in need of reputation rehabilitation.

So far, no Democrat in the deep red state has entered the race to become Kansas’ top prosecutor and law enforcement officer.

The prosecutor

Mattivi, of Topeka, became the latest entrant in the quest to find a replacement for Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who also with former Gov. Jeff Colyer aspire to the GOP nomination for governor. Mattivi recently retired from his job at the U.S. Department of Justice as assistant U.S attorney and the anti-terrorism and national security coordinator for the District of Kansas. He took a job as an attorney with Medcor, which works with companies to provide on-site and mobile clinics and telemedicine services.

“Mattivi is a career prosecutor with a resume replete with successfully pursuing the  interests of justice for the citizens of Kansas and the United States,” said Bryan Clark, of the KHP’s PAC. “During his 20 years as a federal prosecutor, Mattivi prosecuted drug trafficking, violent crime, racketeering, gangs, organized crime, money laundering  and terrorism cases.

“It is imperative to me that the attorney general is qualified, competent and professional,” said Bennett, who will be Mattivi’s campaign treasurer.

Mattivi led a team of Justice Department prosecutors who convicted three Kansas men who aspired to be domestic terrorists by plotting to blow up a Garden City apartment building and kill Somali immigrants. He prosecuted Terry Lee Loewen, the former U.S. Marine who pled guilty to attempting to detonate a van filled with explosives at the Wichita airport. He handled the case of John Booker, who pled guilty to trying to detonate a truck bomb at Fort Riley. He also worked on war crime cases in Iraq and the case against an al Qaeda operative accused in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

Mattivi said he was an experienced federal litigator who could effectively challenge overreach by the administration of President Joe Biden.

“I felt like there’s room in this race not just for a conservative, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Republican, but for a conservative, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Republican who is an experienced prosecutor, is an experienced litigator, and who will stand up credibly and confidently and competently for the citizens of Kansas,” he said.