Lawrence Republican candidate to run for Douglas County district attorney

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Mike Warner, of Lawrence, has announced plans to run as a Republican for Douglas County district attorney.

Warner said in a news release Tuesday that he has nearly 30 years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, including extensive jury trial experience.

Warner has been semi-retired for two years, and he said in the release that he intends to serve for a single term if elected.

“My primary goal will be to improve the office and restore it to responsible prosecution,” he said in the release. “I will provide experience, no drama, and be a law enforcement official, not a politician.”

The last time a Republican ran for the seat was in 2004. Warner said that he considers himself a centrist or moderate, however, and part of his motivation for running is to ensure that Douglas County voters have a voice in the selection of the county’s top prosecutor for the next four years.

Warner said he believes an important elected official should represent the choice of all registered voters, rather than a small percentage of voters in one party essentially choosing the next DA through the Aug. 6 primary.

So far, three Democratic candidates have filed to run: Suzanne Valdez, incumbent DA; Tonda Hill, a prosecutor in Wyandotte County; and Dakota Loomis, a Lawrence defense attorney. All are Lawrence residents.

Suzanne Valdez
Tonda Hill
Dakota Loomis

The winner of the Aug. 6 primary will advance to the Nov. 7 general election; the Democratic primary winner will likely face Warner, though additional candidates may still file before the deadline at noon Monday, June 3.

The last Republican to run for Douglas County DA was Christine Kenney, who ran against Charles Branson. Branson, a Democrat, won with about 53% of the vote in 2004 and held the position for 16 years without facing a challenger in primary or general elections. Valdez was elected in 2020 after winning the Democratic primary against two other candidates, including Branson.

Warner said in the release that since 2021, the DA’s office has faced “significant problems” that he believes stem from the current DA’s “lack of prosecutorial experience.”

“These include high employee turnover, poor relationships with law enforcement, courts, and victims, and a well-publicized disciplinary complaint involving the incumbent,” Warner said. “Unnecessary drama, subpar trial outcomes, and questionable plea agreements have been prominent issues within the office. … If elected, I will use my background as a prosecutor to restore the office’s integrity and professionalism.”

Warner attended the University of Missouri–Kansas City and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics. He attended law school at Washburn University, according to his website.

Warner said in the release that he’s lived in Douglas County for 34 years and cares about having a fair, effective and efficient criminal justice system.

The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 6 primary election is Tuesday, July 16, but the deadline to change your party affiliation to vote in the primary is noon Monday, June 3. Douglas County voters can take care of their voter registration or registration updates and request mail ballots at

Douglas County voters can take care of their voter registration, updates and ballot requests at Check your districts at

 Deadline to file to run for office: noon Monday, June 3. Click here for more information.
 To change your party affiliation to vote in the Aug. 6, 2024 primary election: noon Monday, June 3
 To register, or update your registration, to vote on Aug. 6: Tuesday, July 16
 To request an advance voting mail ballot for the Aug. 6 primary: Tuesday, July 30

More election info:

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