It’s Barnum Festival weekend. Step right up to gawk a collection of great (and near great) elected officials ride, glide and slide up Park Avenue to greet the masses in anticipation of a mega 2010 campaign cycle that’s already under way.
I checked with OIB friends at the Barnum Festival and popular GOP Gov. Jodi Rell has confirmed her attendance in the Great Street Parade that steps off Sunday at 11 a.m. at North and Clinton.
Will Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, a relentless campaigner and announced Rell challenger, show up? Also on the Democratic side as announced guber candidates are Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and Bridgeport native Jim Amann, former Connecticut speaker of the house.
The festival has a policy to invite state constitutional officers (governor, attorney general, etc) and elected pols from the region such as local and state legislative officials to participate in the parade.
State pols cherry pick years in which they’ll hop aboard a convertible or brave the walk. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s a lock every year to show and greet the peeps. U.S. Senator Chris Dodd rarely shows, but might he this year because he’s in trouble? Or is he in such trouble that he’d rather avoid the boos? Dodd is also up for reelection in 2010.
Dodd challengers include Democrat Merick Alpert, a businessman from Mystic, and three from the GOP.
Democrat Jim Himes is also scheduled to attend his first parade as congressman. GOP Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield, whose dad Stewart occupied that seat before Chris Shays, is gearing up to challenge Himes in 2010.
If you’re a challenger outside of the festival’s protocol invitation list that means you cannot march in the parade. It doesn’t mean you cannot work the sidelines. So don’t be surprised to see a storm of balloon-carrying campaign workers in t-shirts hawking their candidate.
Mayor Bill Finch, who will be in the parade with family on Sunday, had an enterprising group of campaign operatives (when he was State Sen. Finch, mayoral candidate in 2007) with a novel approach to building voter goodwill: boxes of animal crackers for the spectators. Ol’ Phineas Taylor Barnum would be proud.
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