Michael Clark: My Run for the South Dakota House #5: The Fair!

sefI have some very fond memories of county fairs. 4-H exhibits, the midway, deep fried anything and everything on a stick, the commercial exhibits, and politics. This year is busy year for politics as this is a presidential election year, and there are a number of ballot issues.

The Minnehaha County GOP had booth in the middle of EXPO center.  It was open to all republican candidates to use as a touch down site.  I understood that candidates were expected to work at least one shift.  I opted to work a Sunday afternoon shift.

This is my first county fair as a candidate.  One of the things I needed was some high quality palm cards.  I had some printed from a budget (cheap) printer, and they were awful.  A few quick e-mails exchanges with Pat at the Dakota Campaign Store and a new batch was on way.  Pat has my thanks for getting these done so quickly and on the fly.

The Democrats had a tent/shelter set up so just as you walk in to the fair you are faced with cardboard cut outs of President Obama and Candidate Clinton.  I wondered about the wisdom in having a separate outside facility, over a booth in the expo center.  I also noticed they didn’t seem too happy to be there.  nametagThey didn’t seem to bright.  On my way past the booth, one of the workers engaged me to vote for my opponent, as I was wearing my name tag.  When I asked who he was running against, they couldn’t name him.

fb_img_1470680530203I found out that my partner this year was Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson.  Wow!  As Secretary of State, Chris was a rock star. He is still a political rock star, just a slightly different tune. He knows the in’s and out of the election process, better than any other candidate.  To be honest, I was also a bit nervous.   The company I work for is not one of the commission’s favorites.

Mr. Nelson was scheduled to be manning the booth for three prior to me coming on, I thought it was a bit unfair to have him there by himself.  I stepped in to help out.  We did have a few problems, like the cardboard cutout of Donald Trump didn’t want to stay standing.  none the less we made it work.

A couple of things I learned:

  • Trinkets are for fairs and parades
  • Palm cards are for door to door and walking around
  • People are paying attention and are engaged.
  • Kids love stickers and balloons

It was interesting engaging people. Some people believe the government is rigged and politics is a distraction from what they are really doing.  Other believe politics is the price to be paid for government, whether or not it is good government is debatable; Some people who question everything.

Overall, I have to say ‘working the fair’ was defiantly an experience.  I met a lot of people. Some I know will cast their vote for me.  I am getting more feed back after the fair.

Now that ‘Fair’ Season is over, back to knocking on doors.

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