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Mickey Kearns, lion of the Common Council, on the campaign trail

Where the Day Takes You

There’s no telling the odd corners of the city to which a political campaign will take a candidate. On Tuesday eveing, a roving correspondent tells us, Mickey Kearns’s campaign carried him into a backyard garden on Connecticut Street, to a soiree called the Leo Party.

A mass celebration for those born under the sign of the lion, the party was, by the numbers, a good mark: When Kearns arrived, there where at least 50 potential voters on hand, drinking, eating, and making their own music. He’d been invited to attend by the party’s host, Robin Johnson, owner of Vilardo Printing on Connecticut Street. Johnson is a solid community activist and West Side booster, the sort of person a candidate needs to know.

On closer inspection, however, Kearns may have wondered what he was doing there. He and his campaign crew were the only people wearing suits. The party-goers appeared to be, and indeed were, refugees from the front bench and barstools at Nietzsche’s.

“Do you have any voter registration forms?” our alert correspondent asked Kearns, after he’d been glad-handing and chatting for a spell. “Because these people seem to like you, but I don’t think most of them can vote.”

Kearns was caught short: He only had one form in his car, which he produced. The party agreed it should be conferred to a fellow who seemed especially enthusiastic and likely to show up at the polls. Game and collegial as ever, Kearns hung out for a while, made some new friends, then departed, zooming off to some other event where votes were gathered in one place.

Alas, as the sun set on the Leo Party, the booze running temporarily low and people gathered closer to the fire, it was discovered that the fellow who had accepted the voter registration form, a convicted felon, had spent some time in jail. Could he still register to vote? Was he ineligible? No one seemed to know. The form, our correspondent admitted, burned brightly but not long.

geoff kelly

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