Kevin Mark Smith, a local attorney, has announced his intention to run against sitting judge Timothy Henderson in the 2016 judicial elections.
He will be running as a Republican.
He said his motivation, “to be clear,” is that Henderson “has absolutely lost the trust of Kansas voters, based on the earlier decision by the Supreme Court about his sexual harassment comments, as well as the phone call he made to help get his wife a job.
“Quite simply, you can’t be a judge if these issues are present.”
Smith has been practicing law for 16 years.
In February, the Kansas Supreme Court suspended Henderson without pay for 90 days after finding he had committed judicial misconduct.
The court found that Henderson had made “‘repeated and offensive comments’ to female staff members and to female attorneys appearing in his court,” according to its 23-page opinion. Also, the court said he had “interfered with an attorney’s practice” and that it showed prejudice against the attorney based on “apparent disagreement with the attorney’s moral beliefs.” The court also found Henderson had tried to leverage his judicial authority to obtain employment for his wife.
He was reassigned to the civil court department in May. He had been presiding judge in the juvenile department.
Henderson is next due in court later this year.
Thomas Haney, an attorney for Henderson, said the judge has not decided yet whether he will seek re-election next year, but said “he wants to serve as long as the people of Wichita will have him.”
“That’s the judge’s decision,” he said.
Henderson was first elected to the bench in 2000 and is also a Republican.
The primary election will be held in August 2016.