The McHenry County Fair is a place that a politician can meet a lot of people. I loved working them while I was running for County Treasurer and in that office from 1966-70. Not to mention the 16 years I served as state representative in the 1970’s and 1990’s.
Yesterday afternoon, I arrived just after 5.
Before I got in the gate, I saw 8th District Congresswoman Melissa Bean greeting people outside the ticket gate.
Pretty much everyone without a pit pass for the tractor pull had walk past her and her aide. A real “pressing the flesh” event. She was giving away something with sugar in it, which, amazingly, I was able to pass up.
The next candidate, Joe Williams, introduced himself at the ticket booth. Having no fall opponent for the office of McHenry County Regional Superintendent of Schools, he was in family mode. Just taking in the fairgrounds’ experience.
Republican candidate for State Representative John O’Neill, a McHenry Grade School Board member and McHenry Library Trustee, had paused to buy corn on the cob from the Knights of Columbus of Woodstock and McHenry.
I passed Jack Franks’ booth, but he wasn’t there. I did get a smiley face from a young man staffing his well-placed tent, however.
Sally Wiggins, the Independent candidate for judge, had a tent on the way to the main place politicians were gathered.
I discovered she was not wearing high heels, as she has been every other time I have seen her. She was wearing boots.
She was passing out stickers with multiple messages. I imagine most of her campaign themes, experience and background are included.
That’s a campaign technique I have never seen before. So, that makes two innovations (three, if you could running as an “Independent”):
- roses at parades and
- stickers with multiply messages
Walking past Wiggins’ booth was Democratic Party candidate for sheriff, Mike Mahon.
Nunda Township Trustee Joni Smith came walking down the path. She and her son were wearing Nygren tee shirts, so I got photos to balance this story.
Slightly behind was husband Brent Smith. He confronted Mahon asking if he had been arrested for DUI.
“Have you read my press release?” Mahon replied.
This went on for a while until a women in the booth next door chided them for not setting a good example for the children at the fair.
In any event, I sense the subject of a forthcoming hit piece against Mahon.
I passed two vehicles from the Sheriff’s Department that were right outside the Sheriff’s Department’s official booth.
A uniformed Sheriff Keith Nygren was standing right inside the door at one of two booths (three, if you count the vehicles outside) being sponsored by the Sheriff’s Department.
Nygren was in campaign mode, aiming his pitches at children.
He gave some high fives to kids and bounced a ball for younger ones to catch.
Right around the corner was the GOP booth.
Gordon Graham was passing out nail files and Teddy Grahams. Showing good campaign technique was the positioning of his wife on the other side of the aisle in front of an unmanned booth. That way, if someone turned away from the Republican booth, she could approach them from the other side.
Jack Frank’s opponent John O’Neill was passing out job fair brochures.
Almost across the aisle was Melissa Bean’s booth. Like last night, it was unstaffed.
In the other building I found the Libertarian Party booth.
People were asked to put glass tokens into jars that represented their opinion of governmental expenditures.
There were actually a couple in the jar that said government always spends money wisely. Most, however, were in the “never” or “rarely” jars.
The Democrats were across the aisle. That’s where I found Mike Tryon’s opponent Bob Kaempfe.
8th State Central Committeewoman Nancy Shepherson was with him.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White still had enough money in his budget to pay for a County Fair booth, but it wasn’t manned Saturday night.
From the photo I was sent yesterday, I know Congressman Don Manzullo had a booth and was told he was there earlier, but I didn’t see the booth.
The McHenry County Fair continues through Sunday evening.