Column by Chris Graham
So I’m walking down the streets of Buena Vista the other day, when out of the blue came a guy running for … something.
“You still hang around with the mainstream media?” Mark Warner asked me as he made his way toward another handshake at the annual Labor Day parade in Buena Vista.
He was already sweating noticeably as he skipped past me on his way to a group of people hoisting Mark Warner for Senate posters.
For the record, I would find out a little further down the street, the signs weren’t meant to imply that the former governor had made his mind up regarding a possible run for the seat being left open by the retirement of John Warner next year.
“We’re Democrats. We recycle,” Warner told me as he jogged up the road toward more hands.
He stopped dead in his tracks when he got to a pickup truck with a load of small children in its bay.
“Didn’t I give you a kiss on the cheek last year?” he asked one of the children, a 3-year-old girl, who shied away immediately upon seeing the men flanking Warner holding cameras at the ready.
“That’s OK,” he said as she grabbed for her mother – and Warner leaned down to get a peck on the check from one of her playmates.
“There are people here who if I don’t kiss their babies … ” Warner said later on the trail, before allowing his words to, well, trail off.
“I love this. I really do,” Warner said.
That much was obvious when he found a shady spot on a front porch and sat down with the man of the house to catch a breather.
“It’s hotter than I thought it would be out there,” he said during his brief siesta, before getting the engine running again.
Warner said later that he was hoping to get some feedback on what he should do next while making his way through the crowds.
He got what he was looking for there – and a lot more.
“It’s amazing how many people love to give me grief about my bicycle accident from a couple of years back. Have you been ridin’ a bike again, Governor?” he said.
The term rock star gets overused in this day and age where anybody and everybody almost is considered a celebrity of sorts – but it fits with Warner, for whom retail politicking is not at all a dirty word.
“I can’t imagine who are involved in politics who don’t like people – but I think there are a couple for whom that’s the case,” Warner said.