Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Parades, parades and parades

For politicians, July 4 means hitting lots of them

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

One's love of parades might begin to wear down after five in a single day.

That's how many parades Congressional candidate Geoff Davis and his campaign staff marched in last Fourth of July.

"We went back to back to back to back to back, all over the (4th) District," said Justin Brasell, campaign manager for the Boone County Republican. "It was exhausting."

And so goes the campaign trail for political candidates everywhere. Expect to see them this weekend.

Candidates won't risk staying home when hundreds, if not thousands, of potential voters line small-town streets on the most patriotic American holiday.

"It's a great way to get your name out there in front of people," said Kathy Groob, a Fort Mitchell Democrat and City Council member running in Kenton County's 23rd State Senate District.

"It's part of the tradition of holidays for candidates to march in parades," Groob said.

Politicians get a little bit of a break with Fourth of July appearances this year. With July 4 falling on a Sunday, many community celebrations and parades are being spread out over two, three and even four days.

Carlisle, the county seat of Nicholas County, holds the earliest event in the 4th District with a parade on Thursday, Brasell said.

"We'll start there, and end Monday in the Fort Thomas parade," he said.

In between, Davis will make appearances at parades and festivals in Edgewood, Falmouth, Independence, Cynthiana, Fort Mitchell and Ashland.

His opponent, Augusta Democrat Nick Clooney, also will be hustling over the holiday weekend. Clooney is scheduled to make appearances in Edgewood, Independence, Villa Hills, Fort Mitchell, Ashland, Bath County and his hometown of Maysville.

Clooney has both attended and participated in dozens of holiday parades in his career.

"My family has always loved America's birthday party with its parades, fireworks and picnics," Clooney said.

"I even like the speeches."

The Independence parade begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with a special grand marshal. That will be Gov. Ernie Fletcher. He and First Lady Glenna Fletcher will receive a key to the city during a 3 p.m. ceremony at the Kenton County Courthouse.

Groob said she plans to march in parades in Fort Mitchell, Edgewood and Fort Wright. Three appearances are nothing compared to Memorial Day, when she and her campaign volunteers made parades in Erlanger, Ludlow, Park Hills and Covington.

"We give out stickers and pass out candy to the kids," Groob said. "It's really a lot of fun. I've marched in parades before as a councilwoman, and that asphalt can get pretty hot on the Fourth of July."

Sen. Jack Westwood, the Crescent Springs Republican challenged by Groob, will be just about step-for-step with his opponent.

Westwood will be in Edgewood Saturday and Fort Mitchell Sunday, said Scott Sedmak, his campaign spokesman. The senator also will work the crowd at a weekend festival in Villa Hills.

"Our volunteers hand stuff out to voters," Sedmak said. "Jack always walks so he can shake hands and talk to people. He always sees people he knows and wants to stop and talk. That slows him up sometimes, but he loves to talk to people."

Sometimes candidates have to make political decisions on which parades to attend.

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, is usually a staple in the Fort Thomas parade, which is set this year for Monday.

But Bunning, who is running statewide for re-election this year against Democrat Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, will instead be in the Campbellsville parade in Taylor County.

Bunning, who raised his family in Fort Thomas and served on City Council there, will run well in the city on Election Day and is taking the opportunity Monday to shore up support elsewhere.

"It was a tough decision to make," said David Young, Bunning's campaign spokesman.

"But you have to pick and choose and hit strategic areas, like Taylor County."


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Parades, parades and parades