What had been billed as a candidate forum for the 2012 race for Sedgwick County district attorney turned into a one-man show Thursday night.
Kevin O'Connor, the most prominent unannounced candidate in the race, stepped aside at the beginning of the forum and said he wasn't ready to debate Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett, the only declared candidate in the race.
And so for an hour, Bennett stood alone and faced sometimes hostile questioning from an audience made up of members of the conservative Kansas Republican Assembly.
O'Connor, a former deputy district attorney, introduced himself to the two dozen people who gathered in the back room at Mike's Steak House at 2131 S. Broadway.
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But he explained that he was working under contract with the Kansas Attorney General's Office and didn't want to politicize any of the cases he's involved in.
O'Connor is one of the prosecutors in the capital murder case of Adam Longoria, who is charged in the killing of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt of Great Bend.
About half the questions that were directed at Bennett dealt with way the District Attorney's Office handles cases involving children who have been removed from their homes.
One man wanted to know if Bennett was willing to prosecute the prosecutors and judges whom the man claimed were illegally "trafficking in children."
"I'm talking about three DAs and three judges that need to go to Leavenworth," the man said.
Bennett said as prosecutor, he'd consider any case presented to him.
"The truth is, any time the law's been broken and we can prove it, we'll prosecute," he said.
"One thing I will tell you is that I'll listen to you," he added. "If I win the election, I'm all ears."
In an interview after the meeting, O'Connor hinted that he is close to making a decision about entering the race.
"It's something I'm giving very serious consideration to, and I think an announcement will come shortly," he said.