Every other year, during election season, I go to a specific corner near my home in Enfield and take pictures of the election signs campaigns have posted there. I’ve been doing this for a decade, now, and the result is my own very minor contribution to local election history.
It’s also a way to watch how a single intersection can change over time. In the 10 years since 2004, a new medical building has risen behind the package store, Middle Road has finally been repaved, signs have been moved around, and the gas station just across the street is now nothing more than an empty shell.
So what do we have this year? Well . . . it’s hardly the best crop of signs I’ve seen, to be honest. In fact, it really feels like there aren’t as many signs up this year everywhere in town as there have been in the past.
There are no signs even hinting at the governor’s race, though that isn’t particularly surprising. For some reason, this corner just doesn’t get those. What is surprising is how few signs for either Foley or Malloy there are anywhere in town. I’ve only seen a handful of Foley signs, and zero signs for Malloy. There is a lone Heather Somers sign on the Somers town line, which I suppose is pretty clever.
The corner is dominated again by Rep. Joe Courtney’s vibrant yellow signs, which are reminiscent of Sen. Chris Dodd’s old placards. State Rep. David Kiner of the 59th District has his blue signs on the corner again, as does his opponent, Republican Rob Kwasnicki. Republican Tom Kienzler also has signs — his have his picture on them — for his run against state Rep. David Alexander in the 58th. The current boundary between the 58th and the 59th is visible in the photo — the picture was taken in the 58th, and the corner itself is in the 59th.
The one constant for all six election pictures is state Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield. His blue and yellow re-election signs are always there, and so far he hasn’t lost. His opponent this year is Democrat John Foxx, also of Enfield.
This picture was taken just before Hurricane Sandy hit in late October — at which point all the signs were taken in as a precaution. There are, of course, Kissel signs, along with a few Linda McMahon signs and a Chris Murphy sign. You’d never know it was a presidential year from these signs, however — those sorts of signs never make it to this corner. Rep. Kiner’s signs here are the same as they are in 2014, and Courtney’s massive sign is back.
This is a pretty interesting year, if only because so many of the names are familiar. There’s a Tom Foley sign, the form of which is a little different from its 2014 version. The colors are switched in 2010, with red on the top, and his running mate’s name is different. The basic form is the same, however. The most prominent sign is Martha Dean, which has her smiling face and her memorable, if weird, slogan of “Freedom, Faith, Fortune.” She was running for attorney general in 2010, and lost badly. David Kiner’s sign appears here for the first time.
Excuse the rotten quality, I took it with a Blackberry. Cell phone cameras are an awful lot better now, thankfully. The biggest signs here are for the state senate race between Sen. Kissel and George Colli. Colli is now a reporter with NBC Connecticut. If any other elections were going on that year, they don’t show up in this blurry picture.
There were two huge races in 2006, and both are represented here. Ned Lamont has signs, as do both Joe Courtney and former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons. Lamont lost to Joe Lieberman, while Joe Courtney edged Rob Simmons by 91 votes. Courtney hasn’t had a tough race since. The Kiner of 2006 was David Kiner’s father, Bill, a longtime figure in Enfield politics. He didn’t have any luck against Sen. Kissel, either.
Another presidential year, and once again no sign of it on the corner. Chris Dodd’s signs are here, as are signs for Rob Simmons. Bill Kiner came very, very close in 2004, but couldn’t defeat John Kissel. While 2004 may seem similar in these pictures, in a lot of ways it was a very, very different world. Simmons was one of three Republican representatives in Congress, all of whom would win in 2004, and George W. Bush was heading for re-election.
Can’t wait to see what another 10 years brings.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
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