So my wife and I walked in two parades over the holiday with Chris Gabrieli: Randolph on Monday night, and Chelmsford on Tuesday morning. Chris also walked in Norwood Tuesday evening, but we were ready for some family time by then (and that all-American activity of watching Italy play Germany in the World Cup). Gotta love a Fourth of July parade: veterans, fire trucks, motorcycle cops, young marching bands, old brass bands, bagpipers, business associations, pirate ships, karate schools, historical re-enactors, lawn chairs, block parties, squirt guns, firecrackers, and … candidates. We had a pretty big contingent: a banner; Chris with a couple of his kids, and some local supporters from the town in question; a sound-and-sign pickup truck, dozens of t-shirt-wearing sign-holders, Tootsie Rolls, balloons, kids, a couple of fiddlers, a beautiful husky dog in a Gabrieli t-shirt, and the campaign RV. The weather was great, if a bit hot on Tuesday, and everyone had a good time. We also ran into some friends and family on the Randolph route.
We were near Deb Goldberg and Reed Hillman in both; Sen. Brian Joyce was big in Randolph, and D.A. candidate Gerry Leone in Chelmsford; small groups of Deval volunteers were nearby, but I didn’t see any Reilly folks. I heard that Reilly did do some parades, but that Deval took some time off from the campaign trail and didn’t do any. Can anyone confirm this? Does anyone think it matters? How important are these kind of events?
On top of all the fun, the parades gave thousands the chance to see, and even meet, some candidates, in a friendly, apolitical environment. The response was very positive. Lots of people thanked Chris for coming to their town’s parade and wished him well in the election. In a primary in which the policy differences between the candidates are not huge, do these interactions have as much impact as any other in-person appearances, especially given that they don’t select for people who already support the candidate?