Some Kansas Democrats want Gov. Mark Parkinson to change his mind about running for a full term next year, despite his repeated statements that he'll leave politics.
Parkinson was elevated from lieutenant governor to governor in April, when term-limited Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius resigned to become U.S. secretary of health and human services. Her departure put him in a stronger position for a 2010 campaign, but he previously had declared that he wouldn't run for any office.
His continued insistence that he won't run leaves Democrats without a candidate to face Sen. Sam Brownback, who became the presumed Republican nominee when Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh dropped out of the GOP race last month. Meanwhile, Parkinson has won some praise from even Republican legislative leaders for his handling of energy and budget issues.
"Among Democrats, there's a belief that he has a golden opportunity, and he's not using it, and maybe that's a little source of frustration," said State Treasurer Dennis McKinney, a fellow Democrat.
Sebelius' decision to name Parkinson as her running mate for her campaign for a second and final term in 2006 caused grumbling in both parties.
Parkinson, a former legislator, served as Kansas GOP chairman as late as January 2003. Some Republicans accused him of switching parties to run with Sebelius out of ambition for the governor's job, after he'd been critical of her during her first campaign for governor in 2002.