Family, fun key in Larry Bryson’s campaigning

Patti Bryson said she couldn’t imagine gathering family, friends and supporters together anywhere besides their own Centralia home.

Everyone was all smiles, spread out in the kitchen, living rooms and dining room in associate circuit judge candidate Larry Bryson’s home Tuesday night. The warm atmosphere felt more like a family reunion than a watch party. Patti Bryson had piled the dining room table high with pulled-pork sandwiches and summer side dishes, cool sodas and iced tea which she offered amiably to any guest who walked through their front door.

“We’ve always had the watch parties here,” Patti Bryson said.

The Bryson’s have only held two other watch parties, one for the primary when he was first voted into office in 1986, and again when he was challenged in the general election in 1994.

The family said that the watch party was an easy gathering compared to the campaigning they had been doing all summer. Many of the campaign events became quality family time.

“It’s been a really positive, fun experience. Our girls (Grace and Evie) have had the best summer ever,” said Laurie Bryson, Larry Bryson’s daughter-in-law. “The neat thing is, this has brought us so close together, because we’ve been here every weekend just helping out. We’ve gone to all the parades and fairs. We’ve really enjoyed it.”

Larry Bryson’s granddaughter Grace, 7, said she loved Centralia’s Anchor Festival best, while Evie, 3, said she had the most fun with Taffy, who she cheered on at the Turtle Races. For Larry Bryson, cow patty bingo was the highlight of the campaign.

“They come out with a big chunk of a stump that you and I couldn’t reach around,” he said. “You stand up on the stump and you speak to a bunch of people who are out there around a keg and a bunch of cows, and you wait and see which square they dump on for somebody to win a pot.”

Larry Bryson emphasized the importance of creating a positive atmosphere during the campaign.

“If you don’t have fun at some time during the campaign, you’re in trouble,” he said.

Larry Bryson defeated Kim Shaw in a close race. The final count was 4,596 to 4,353, or 51.36 percent to 48.64 percent.

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