The 2012 political year is likely to be as active and engaging locally as any in the past several decades.
Some of that activity, obviously, will concern county-level developments in the presidential contest. But a substantial portion will also be centered on “down-ballot” races. That interest won’t involve just the candidates themselves; the districts the candidates represent will — at least early in the year — be the bigger story.
The re-drawing of congressional and legislative district boundaries will be undertaken by the Kansas Legislature when it returns to Topeka the second week in January. The maps that are developed will be in effect through the 2020 elections. Depending on how the debates unfold, that re-drawing could be accomplished as early as February, or as late as the end of the session in April. But however it develops, the progress of that process will be especially watched in Riley County for three reasons.