Who was--and wasn't--at Gay Pride parade
In the spirited contest for the 4th District senate seat, all but one campaign had some representation in the parade, including two or three of the candidates. Frontrunners Jeff Smith and Amber Boykins appeared in the parade, and it was difficult to tell whether or not Yaphett El-Amin was in the car bearing her signs (a closed sedan containing two people waiving). While the campaign of Derio Gambaro (on record opposing gay rights) did not have an entry in the parade, a car carrying an alderman displayed his signs (more later). No presence was noted for the fifth candidate, former alderman Kenny Jones.
Mayor Francis Slay, Comptroller Darlene Green and Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury (wearing a Stonewall Democrats t-shirt) were all in the parade, as were License Collector and aspiring Collector of Revenue Gregg Daly and his aspiring replacement, Alderman Mike Millan. Other notables included State Sen. Maida Coleman, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, and several aldermen and state reps.
No candidate for statewide office either appeared or was represented in the parade. While neither U.S. Senator Jim Talent nor his likely Democratic opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, made an appearance, a possible opponent of both was busy on the sidelines. Lydia Lewis, who is seeking the Progressive Party nomination for that office, was spotted on the east side of Grand collecting signatures to get her party on the ballot. No candidates for state auditor made a parade appearance.
The Smith campaign entourage had a little surprise for the audience. The passenger in a convertible with signage for Smith waived enthusiastically at the crowd, but the guy wasn’t Smith. The candidate himself trailed the car by about 30 feet, coming to the sidelines to shake hands with a visibly supportive crowd. It was a Jimmy Carter moment.
On the downside for Smith, the car bearing signage for Gambaro was courtesy of 23rd Ward Alderwoman Kathleen Hanrahan, whose ward organization headed by Francis Slay has endorsed Smith. One wonders whether and how serious a split may have developed in that ward’s organization, at least in this contest.