Miss WV Roadkill waves at fans at the Fourth of July parade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
RIPLEY, W.Va. — The country’s “largest small town Independence Day parade” had all the expected: beauty queens, sun-drenched crowds and political glad-handling.
The hardest thing to find on this route? A West Virginian who plans to vote the straight party line this fall.
“I vote for the person, not for the party,” Thomas Lee Stemple, a retired maintenance supervisor and registered Democrat, said a few hours before the parade.
Interviews with West Virginia voters over the holiday weekend showed many of them intend to split their ballots between parties this November. The parade’s two most prominent participants and Senate candidates — Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, and West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat — used the event to promote their personal brands to voters gathered on the streets of this town north of Charleston.
Capito was the first federal candidate featured in the parade of more than 150 floats. Full story