Sedgwick County Sheriff Gary Steed's announcement Thursday morning that he will not seek re-election this November is shaking up the race for his position.
By 11:00 a.m. Thursday, two new candidates filed for election. Dal Astle, a leuitenant with the Garden Plain Police Department, and Mark Alexander, the Democratic candidate for Sheriff in 2004, both announced they are running on the Republican ticket for Sheriff.
Walt Kuykendall, a 29 year police veteran, is currently the lone Democrat in the race. He filed for election in February, the same month Steed filed for re-election.
All three say they respect and admire Sheriff Steed. They believe Steed's withdrawal from the race could make it easier for each to win the election.
Steed says there's no specific moment or event in recent weeks that has lead him to change his mind about the race. Steed says he wants to spend more time with his family and pursue some personal goals, including running a marathon. He says after careful consideration, he was not prepared to commit another four years to office. Steed began as an officer in 1974 when he was 21 years old. He will leave office at age 56 in January when his successor is sworn in.
Steed is not yet endorsing any candidates for office. Kuykendall, Astle and Alexander say they anticipate Undersheriff Bob Henshaw will also enter the race, though no paperwork has been filed.
Deputy Chief Robert C. Lee announced late on Thursday that he will hold a media briefing at 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, Friday, concerning the contest for Sedgwick County Sheriff.
Candidates have until June 10th to file with the Sedgwick County Election Office.