Amped-up speeches and overflow crowds greeted Kansas Democratic Party caucus-goers in 2008.
Where to go
Statewide, caucuses will be held at 50 sites Saturday. The Democratic Party's caucuses are open to all Kansas residents, but all caucus-goers must apply to register as a Democrat before they may participate in a caucus.
Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the meetings will begin at 2 p.m.
Caucuses are determined by U.S. House District and State Senate District.
In Lawrence, the U.S. House District 2, State Senate District 2 caucus will be held at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.
These three caucuses will be at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, 1400 Mass.: U.S. House District 2, State Senate District 3; U.S. House District 3, State Senate District 2; and U.S. House District 3, State Senate District 3.
But this year’s Democratic caucus on Saturday is likely to be pretty calm.
The ballot will contain just one candidate — President Barack Obama — unlike four years ago, when Obama and Hillary Clinton were locked in a tough race.
And the Kansas Democratic Party is trying to regroup after a devastating 2010 election cycle.
“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” said Douglas County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Quick. “It’s just a much different situation.”
Democrats hope the caucuses will help build up the party, generate enthusiasm and kick off the 2012 election season.
“We are excited about this year’s caucus and the opportunity it provides to bring Democrats together and jump-start the 2012 elections,” said Joan Wagnon, chair of the state Democratic Party.
Democrats will stand behind President Obama, but Kansas most likely will fall in the Republican column, just as it has in every presidential election since 1940 with the exception of Lyndon Johnson’s election in 1964.
In 2008 in Kansas, Obama received 41.6 percent of the vote against Republican John McCain. Obama won only three counties: Douglas, Wyandotte and Crawford.
Last month, Kansas Republicans caucused and supported former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. He has since dropped out of the race, leaving Mitt Romney as the presumed nominee.
Aside from supporting Obama, Democrats hope to defend their seats in the Kansas House and Senate and, perhaps, recapture a few House seats lost in the 2010 mid-term election.
But in this political climate that will be a difficult task. Republicans outnumber Democrats 92-33 in the House and 32-8 in the Senate. Every statewide and congressional representative is a Republican, and the Legislature has yet to approve legislative district boundaries through the once-a-decade reapportionment process.
And with the election of conservative Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, it’s not only Democrats but also moderate Republicans who are fighting for their political lives.
The biggest battle in Kansas likely will be the Republican Party primary in August where eight Kansas Senate seats that are currently held by moderate Republicans have been targeted by Brownback allies.
Despite facing long odds, Democrats say they will keep trying to get their message out and win converts.
“Our caucus will allow Kansas Democrats to stand up and express their belief in our president and their belief in our shared values of good schools, good jobs and a fair system,” Wagnon said.