National reporters, pollsters and political strategists will convene at Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics this week to reflect on the midterm election and forecast the political winds heading into 2008.
"It's going to be a pretty broad-ranging discussion," Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy said. "I think we'll get into a lot of fascinating issues."
The 2006 Post-Election Conference runs Thursday and Friday at the Institute. The invitation-only event is expected to draw an audience of more than 70 people, including academics, students and friends of the Institute.
Panelists include Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman; Democratic strategist Ray Strother; Bill Burton of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and Scott Reed, Republican strategist and former executive director of the Republican National Committee and campaign manager for Bob Dole's 1996 presidential bid.
Participants will tackle both the national and regional political landscapes.
The midterm elections handed control of Congress to Democrats. And Kansas saw such upsets as the victory of Democrat Nancy Boyda against five-term Republican Rep. Jim Ryun in the 2nd District.
Lacy said he predicts the discussion will delve into the president, Iraq, the direction of the Republican party and other issues.
Steven Jacques, director of programming and communications for the Dole Institute, said the regional discussions will cover the divisions in the Republican party locally. And they'll look at how what happens in Missouri and Kansas affects the national landscape.
"I think the question for the future is: Can Democrats capitalize on the gains they've made?" said KU political science professor Burdett Loomis, who is participating in the event. "For the Republicans: What are the kinds of things they need to do to be able to compete more effectively?"
The Institute will create DVD recordings of the discussions that can be distributed to the public.