Among the GOP candidates walking the parade route with supporters were 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, Senate Candidates Dan Duffy and Keith Gray, State Representative Ed Sullivan Jr., State Rep. Candidate Dan Sugrue, and Judge Valerie Ceckowski.
Here are some pix, taken by yours truly and his trusty Blackberry:
On the left are a few of our early morning die-hards, including County Board Member Carol Calabrese (center) putting the finishing touches on the GOP Float.
In the red shirt is none other than Congressman Mark Kirk, surrounded by his many supporters (note the dog with the Kirk shirt in the lower right).
Last but not least, we have Senate Candidate Dan Duffy, sharing a float with State Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr.
The festival itself was quite successful, the rain holding off until the evening. From what I could tell, the parade route was lined with a ton of people, most of whom appeared to stay until the last float had gone by. I don't have the exact number of parade entrants, but I believe it was over 70!
The Dems had a number of people in the parade to support their candidates, including Dan Seals, although the only candidate I saw with a float was Amanda Howland, who is challenging Sullivan. Dan didn't give out any free gas, but I saw a bunch of Seals stickers and "Dan Fan" fans. Interestingly enough, most of the fans were being held by kids, and a lot of the kids also had Mark Kirk stickers on them, which pretty much means kids will take any free stuff you hand them. The Libertyville Township Dems had a booth across the park from the Libertyville GOP, which has been a steadfast presence at the event for years.
While there's no question the Dems were out in force (a commentor stated s/he saw only 15 people marching for Seals, but I thought it was considerably more, though not as many as Kirk), I have no question the GOP has better candidates. I think it's no shock to most people in the know that the battleground for the 10th District, and perhaps the county, will not be the party faithful, but the so-called independents or ticket-splitters. Thus, while finally getting some people to show up and march in a parade is a good start, the Dems fall short, I think, when it comes to their slate. It's up to us to reach the voters and convince them that the GOP has the edge when it comes to casting those votes in November.
Also Seen at the Festival: A few petition passers were out trying to get a new independent candidate on the fall ballot. I forget his name, but I'm sure his one or two supporters that monitor my blog along with Capitol Fax Blog will remind me in comments. While I am disappointed that a group of right-wing Republicans would be trying to undermine Mark Kirk, I will say that the petition-passers seemed very careful to verify that those they asked to sign the petitions actually resided in the 10th District (must've seen how having non-residents (not to mention dead folks) sign for Terry Link worked out). I know, because they asked my wife to sign. They asked if she was sure she lived in the 10th District, and offered to show her a map, but she was like, "BELIEVE me, I know I live in the 10th District..." She politely declined to sign, however.