The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 19, 2012

Campaigning a tradition at Cherokee County Fair

COLUMBUS, Kan. — When one thinks of the county fair, images are formed of young people with their livestock, carnival rides and cotton candy.

And politicians.

While politicians might not be the first thing that comes to mind, they have become as much a part of the tradition as the other aspects, especially when the August primary is approaching.

Candidates were plentiful Wednesday night at the Cherokee County Fair. The path to the carnival midway leads past the shelters set up by the individual campaigns and the two political parties.

Fred Cox, 54, of Columbus, had stopped to talk with Nathan Coleman, seeking the Republican nomination for county attorney. Cox had his 2-year-old grandson, Chris Ellison, with him.

“He seems like a very personable gentleman,” Cox said of Coleman after the talk. He said he may use the fair as an opportunity to get acquainted with the candidates.

“If I don’t come by and talk to these people, I’m never going to know” about their positions, he said.

Cox said though he’s not yet registered to vote, he feels more motivated to do so after his conversation.

Coleman said being at the fair was important.

“This is one of your few opportunities to get out and meet the people of the county in a nice, relaxed atmosphere,” Coleman said.

He said it gives people a chance to put a face with the names of candidates and become educated about their positions, or just to chat.

“We wouldn’t miss it,” Coleman said of the county fair.

Robert Myers, also seeking the Republican nomination for county attorney, had balloons that caught the attention of parents of young children. One could see balloons reading “Myers for County Attorney” carried by children or tied to the handles of strollers around the fairground.

“It’s hot, hot, hot and a lot of fun,” Myers said. He said bigger crowds turn out after the sun goes down. He also expects big crowds tonight and Saturday night.

He said attorneys spend a lot of time in court, and residents don’t often get a chance to talk with them in an informal environment like the fair.

“They see we’re approachable,” he said.

He said many of the people who stop by are friends.

Myers and his family and supporters also were handing out cold bottles of water.

“This is special water,” he said. “It’s campaign water.”

The bottle’s label had his campaign message on it.

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