Ross Perot quit his independent run for president and headed back to Texas, but his supporters in Lawrence haven't turned their backs on politics.
Perot volunteers scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the former Perot headquarters at 1115 S.W. Wanamaker Rd. in Topeka to redirect their efforts.
A statement from state Perot headquarters on Monday said volunteers "encourage anyone interested in returning government to the people to attend."
Instead of promoting Perot's candidacy for president, his supporters will now seek to keep their political movement alive.
Steve Klaus, who coordinated a Douglas County petition drive for Perot, said there is a chance a new third party could emerge from Perot's campaign.
"WHAT IS happening around the country is a movement of former Ross Perot supporters to organize some kind of issue-oriented activity," Klaus said. "I'm not saying a third party yet, but I think ultimately that's a possibility."
Perot announced last week that he would withdraw from the race.
Officially, 3,800 petition signatures were collected in Douglas County to help get the Texas billionaire's name on the Kansas general election ballot in November.
Kansas volunteers for Perot submitted in early June petitions bearing some 46,000 signatures. He needed just 5,000 signatures.
Klaus said he's spent the last few days speaking with people in Douglas County who were active in the campaign to get Perot on the ballot.
The majority remain interested in continuing Perot's mission of forcing dramatic change on the federal government, he said. However, he said, time is running out.
"IF SOMETHING isn't going in the next few weeks the momentum will dissolve, disintegrate and go away. That would be unfortunate," he said. "We finally got the grassroots movement going and it should be kept going."
Klaus said the country needs new leadership.
"The driving force behind it all was that the incumbents were not effective," he said. "The dissatisfaction of the plight of the people was very, very bad. At the moment, we are leaderless at the national level. Someone needs to emerge and rally these people together."
Orville Sweet, who was Perot's state campaign manager, attended a meeting of volunteers with Perot in Dallas last Friday.
SWEET WAS named to a committee which hopes to create a new national organization ``to impact public policy by exerting pressure on congressional and presidential candidates.''
"The objective is to develop a list of critical issues to present to all candidates and get commitments for their support before endorsing them," the statement said.
Perot has until Aug. 21 to request that his name be removed from the Kansas ballot.