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Leeton, Missouri is a very small town in south central Johnson County, just at the bend in Highway 2 a few miles east of Highway 13. Around this time of year every two years the area political campaigns show up with their supporters, signs, and candy for the Leeton parade. I’ve pointed out for years that this parade is the “second shortest in the county” – the politicians and their supporters vastly outnumbering the observers. The thing is, everyone shows up early to line up for the parade to get their vehicles festooned with signs and their supporters into matching t-shirts – the preparation process taking more time than the actual parade.

Chris Benjamin (D) in Leeton, Missouri.

Today I walked with Chris Benjamin, Democratic candidate in the 31st Senate District. He thrives on the contact he gets with voters at these events.

While everyone waits for the parade to start they engage in conversations – political and social. I even said a few words to some republican participants.

The early morning fog had burned off by the time the lone Leeton police car sounded its siren to signal the start of the parade. The high humidity and the sun made the environment very steamy. Chris Benjamin shook every adult hand along the parade route, zig zagging from one side of the street to the other.

Chris Benjamin working the Leeton parade crowd.

After the parade Chris Benjamin told me that he’d be going door to door in Belton (in Cass County) this afternoon and then walking in a parade in Nevada (in Vernon County) after that. Evidently he’s keeping a very full schedule. There are four counties in the senate district.

Kristi Kenney, Democratic candidate in the 120th Legislative District also had a contingent in the parade. She knows this parade well, having run for office in 2006.

Kristi Kenney (D) (left) and her campaign truck prior to the start of the parade.

The candidates send out advance teams to plaster the parade crowd with their stickers. Campaign volunteers accompanying their parade vehicle pass out information in the form of palm cards.

Mike Wagner, Democratic candidate for judge in the 17th Circuit, had a very large contingent of supporters which probably came close to outnumbering the entire population of Leeton.

Mike Wagner (D) (left) at the parade line up point.

The 17th Judicial Circuit encompasses Cass and Johnson counties.

Almost every candidate had a truck with their large signs, or a truck pulling a trailer. You’ve just got to love rural Missouri.