Amidst the roar of roller coasters and the lingering smell of funnel cakes stood a stump with a plaque engraved with "Presented by the grand order of Pachyderms. To: Bob Smith. August, 1971." This was the site of 26 stump speeches by candidates for the 9th, 21st, 24th and 25th district House seats, the 19th district state Senate seat and Boone County treasurer, sheriff, administrator and commissioner on Friday at the Boone County Fairground.
Owner Charlie Christy recalled the days of stump speaking's highest popularity when candidates would speak on the courthouse lawn the week before the primaries. "In those days, there were no Republicans in Boone County," he said. "And the primary election was the general election. That was back in the early 1800s."
Since then, stump speaking has lost its steam and the Republican Pachyderms gave the stump to former Mayor Bob Smith - who had been active in stump speaking - as a joke, Christy said. Smith passed on the stump to Christy after he showed interest in it.
For one night, the tradition was revived, as each candidate was given five minutes to speak to a sparse crowd. Hundreds of fairgoers streamed by, few pausing to hear the candidates speak. The few listeners were mostly family or campaign workers sporting T-shirts, pins and stickers for their favorite candidate.
Most didn't fill the time allotted, simply introducing themselves, asking for support at the Aug. 3 primaries and occasionally addressing policies.
Stump speech highlights:
19th District State Senate
Chuck Graham, Democrat: "The top priority of the 19th district state senator is to protect, defend and enhance the University of Missouri. It is the economic engine that drives our community."
Tim Harlan, Democrat: "There is nothing more important to small businesses than health insurance. I will write, sponsor and go around the state getting support (for health insurance legislation)."
25th District State Representative
Judy Baker, Democrat: "I am concerned with the issues of the environment and jobs creation. And I have the ability to build bridges and to get things done in the legislature."
Lara Underwood, Democrat: "I'm the only candidate with real legislative experience, and as Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell told me, 'The most important thing you can do is know the rules,' and I know the rules."
Mike Blum, Democrat: "I'm the excitable one of the group, but that's because I'm excited about representing the people of the 25th district. And I'm the only candidate with a the unique combination of a blue-collar background and legal expertise."
Russell P. Breyfogle, Democrat: "We are living in a culture of war, and as the government spends more and more money on the CIA, homeland security and defense, there is going to be less money for social programs and the states are going to have to take over that responsibility. So we're going to have to raise new revenues, which is why I'm running on a campaign of fair taxes."
Republican Joel Jeffries, who is uncontested in the primaries introduced himself but made no speech.
24th District State Representative
Greg Casey, Democrat: "I taught at the university for 30 years. I taught civil rights, civil liberties and state government, so now I'm looking to put that into practice."
A Carol Iles representative, Republican: "Carol understands that good government isn't about solving one great big math problem. She understands how collecting your money is more than that - it is going to affect your business and your life."
Boone County Sheriff
Dwayne Carey, Democrat: "This job is about managing the multi-million dollar budget and managing the personnel, and I have experience actively working on the budget."
Ken Kreigh, Democrat: "I plan to fiscally manage the department so we're not wasting taxpayers' dollars. I also want to expand the school resource officer program."
O.J. Stone, Democrat: "I support the creation of a community advisory board and before there's a problem - not after."
Mick Covington, Republican: "I consider the three most important issues facing Boone County to be domestic violence, child abuse and child neglect; methamphetamine production; and traffic safety."