Topeka Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and other presidential hopefuls tromping through the Kansas snow?
It could happen.
The state's chief election official Monday appointed a panel to recommend when would be the best possible time period in 2008 for Kansas to have a presidential primary.
"Working together, I believe that we can determine a date that will have the most national and local significance," Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh said.
The bipartisan advisory group includes Kim Wells, an attorney from Lawrence who served as Kansas Republican Party chairman from 1991 to 1995.
Wells, who also worked on former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole's presidential campaign, said Kansas could have a lively primary next year because there is no incumbent in the presidential race and competition is fierce in both parties.
The last presidential primary in Kansas was 1992. Since then, the Legislature has canceled the primaries because lawmakers thought the races weren't competitive or the state couldn't afford the $2 million cost.
"It's a good year to try to assess it from a bipartisan point of view," Wells said.
He said although Kansas is a small state with few electoral votes, its mid-America status could carry political weight in the race to win the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.
"The overall goal is if we are going to have a primary, it would be nice if it were meaningful," he said.
The issue is timing.
Thornburgh and other state officials want to conduct the primary early enough in the process to have an effect on the selection of presidential candidates.
Kansas' primary has been on the second Tuesday in April, which many agree would be too late to influence the race.
State political leaders have said they prefer a Kansas primary in early February 2008. Legislation approved by the state Senate would allow Thornburgh flexibility in moving up the primary date.
"It has been 15 years since Kansans were able to express their opinions in a presidential primary," Thornburgh said. "It is time we give democracy her voice back."
Others on the primary advisory panel are:
¢ Tom Docking, a Democrat who served as lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1987.
¢ Alicia Salisbury, who is the Kansas Republican Party National Committeewoman, a member of the RNC rules committee and former state senator from Topeka.
¢ Larry Gates, Kansas Democratic Party chairman.