Most people go to parades for the bands, the candy and the floats. I go for the politics.
I’m always interested to see which candidates and office-holders show up, what order they’re in, and how well they interact with the crowd.
Saturday, my family and I attended the DWU homecoming parade. The only candidates for statewide office who joined the parade were Republican gubernatorial candidates Dennis Daugaard and Scott Munsterman. Daugaard was closer to the front of the parade than Munsterman.
Daugaard had a substantial number of helpers walking the route with him, including former Mitchell city councilman and current Abbott House Development Director Allen Lepke, and Abbott House Executive Director Eric Klooz.
When the Daugaard contingent rolled by, one of Daugaard’s helpers came straight over to my 2-year-old daughter and asked if she wanted a campaign sticker. She gladly accepted and stuck it on her coat. Daugaard waved directly at her and smiled, and she laughed and smiled back. As you might recall from one of my earlier posts, she also accepted a Knudson for Governor sticker at the Wagner Labor Day Parade. I’m not sure where her loyalties are placed at this point.
One other thing I noticed about Daugaard, by the way, is that he wore cowboy boots. I’m not sure if he’s a genuine cowboy-boot-wearer, or if he’s one of these politicians that pulls out the cowboy boots every time he gets west of Sioux Falls.
Munsterman, meanwhile, appeared to be alone save for somebody driving his vehicle. He tried to interact with crowd members here and there, but he was forced to skip over large swaths of the crowd, including us.
Mitchell’s three state legislators had a vehicle decked out with all their campaign signs in the parade, but I didn’t see a single one of them in the vehicle or walking the parade route. I can’t say for sure that they weren’t there, but if they were, I didn’t see them.
The other politically interesting part of the parade was the placement of the car carrying DWU alumnus George McGovern directly in front of the group of walkers representing the Mitchell Pregnancy Center. As some of you might know or remember, McGovern was labeled (some say unfairly) as the candidate of "acid, amnesty and abortion" when he ran for president in 1972. The Mitchell Pregnancy Center is rabidly pro-life and handed out a multi-page brochure Saturday filled with reasons why the group thinks God disapproves of abortion.