During the 2004 election, I finally had a digital camera so I used it to take a picture of a political sign-festooned corner in my neighborhood in Enfield. Every other year since, I’ve gone back to that corner during the political season to take a similar picture.
This collage is the result: a small piece of political and local history. Each year has some features worth pointing out or explaining.
2004: The “Sullivan for Congress” here isn’t 2008’s Sean Sullivan, but Jim Sullivan, a Democrat who went on to lose to Rob Simmons. Bill Kiner’s orange signs are evident here—this was the year he came closest to defeating State Sen. John Kissel. Note also a single, solitary black-on-yellow “Chris Dodd” sign. That U.S. Senate race was surprisingly low-key in light of the two to follow it. There are no signs indicating a presidential election, though those were evident elsewhere in town.
2006: Rob Simmons has center stage here, in what I’m coming to think of as a cursed location. He narrowly lost to Joe Courtney, who replaced the white-on-blue signs of his 2002 run with black-on-yellow ones reminiscent of Dodd’s and of Sam Gejdensen’s. There are a few scattered Lamont signs, and no Lieberman signs. Bill Kiner’s signs are back, but he would come no closer to John Kissel. There are no signs for either Jodi Rell or John DeStefano.
The Jug Shop seems a lot busier.
2008: Apologies for the poor quality, I took this picture with a cell-phone camera. George Colli is in the cursed spot, and his green-on-white sign is the only really readable one. There are some bluish-white blurs that I think are Sean Sullivan signs, and some recognizable Kissel signs. As in 2004, no Obama or McCain signs are on this corner.
2010: This year’s political sign crop is an interesting one. Martha Dean’s sign is prominent this year, and her puzzling “Freedom, Faith, Fortune” slogan is visible. Her website’s explanation of the last word did little to clear things up; apparently the word “prosperity” is way too socialist for Martha. Really. Fortunately for Connecticut, the placement of her sign (and the pure insanity of her campaign) pretty much assures her defeat. Hilariously, last weekend a large orange sign for some local event was placed directly—and I mean by a few feet—in front of Dean’s smiling face, neatly covering it up.
Courtney’s signs, which haven’t changed their high-visibility design since 2006, are visible, but there are none for his opponent, Janet Peckinpaugh. Her signs cram her last name in white, boldface capital letters onto a blue background—it’s not a pleasing effect.
Richard Blumenthal, perhaps wisely, decided to keep his signs pretty much the same as they’ve always been, reminding us that we have a long history with him. Linda McMahon’s white-on-blue signs focus on her first name (maybe Janet Peckinpaugh should have done this? Sam Gejdensen did), and her lawn signs strongly resemble Hillary Clinton’s to me. The blue is even the same shade, though the flag detail below the name is slightly different. She doesn’t have any signs here, though they are everywhere else in town.
The Kiner running for state representative is not Bill Kiner, but town council member David Kiner, his son (for Enfield Democrats, politics runs in families). Tom Foley’s signs here are kind of dull, but they’re nowhere near as uninteresting as Dan Malloy’s, which are not in evidence here. John Kissel’s signs re-appear; his are the only ones to show up every year.
On the whole, Republicans seem to have more signs here and elsewhere in town, though sign-counting really isn’t that great of a way to gauge how an election is going. The signs themselves are reminders that it’s election season, and they do give supporters a way to show the flag, but whether they serve much purpose beyond that is hard to say.
On a non political sign-related note, the intersection keeps changing. The yellow “lane ends” sign is replaced by a standing traffic light in 2006, and by 2010 is in turn replaced by a walk light. Maybe Enfield is finally becoming more friendly to pedestrians! Beer seems more expensive. There’s a big medical office building rising behind the package store this year, and the other sorts of signs that grace the corner when political season isn’t happening stubbornly remain, reminding us that there’s life outside of politics after all.