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The Palisades 4th of July Parade has long been a place for D.C.’s pols to flex their campaign muscle with an election approaching. Question was, with the seemingly endless 2006 election season finally over, would the usual suspects continue to pull out all the stops on MacArthur Boulevard, or would this be a lower-key affair?

Nope—-the keys stayed plenty high.

Now, I got to the parade about 20 minutes late, hoofing across town on my bike, apparently missing Adrian Fenty and a couple of others. But some notes on the rest of the lineup:

As usual, you can break the folks down into riders (folks who like to stay on high ground, taking in the big picture) and walkers (those really into the nitty-gitty, low-to-the-ground work of governing).

The Walkers: Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser (pictured above), Shadow Senator Michael Brown, At-Large Councilmember David Catania.

The Riders: Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Shadow Senator Paul Strauss

When it came to who brought the biggest delegation to the parade, Strauss had a good showing, especially with all the youngsters in the back of his pickup truck, but it was Bowser, with well over a dozen green-Mardi Gras-bead-toting volunteers in tow, who took top honors for participation. Brown, with who appeared to be a couple of family members and no vehicle, had the most compact crew:

Strauss does get a special nod for the most polite candy distribution. Rather than the bulk-tossing strategy favored by virtually all other parade marchers, one kindly old Strauss volunteer asked me if I’d like a candy before pressing a single hard butterscotch into my palm.

The biggest disappointment this year had to be the low caliber of automotive bling. Best-wheels-for-an-elected-official award is a toss-up between Catania’s PT Cruiser and Bowser’s Mercedes CLK convertible. (Note to Ward 7 Dems: Lose the Windstar.)

The biggest loss from years past? Has to be former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange, whose chariot was always a slick classic car that no other politico could match. As far as luxury wheels went this year, the closest we got was former DDOT spokesperson and Ward 3 council candidate Bill Rice eschewing his usual bicycle for a sweet Lexus RX 330 SUV in the Middle C Music delegation (which is owned by Rice’s wife, Myrna Sislen):

Oh, and Faith was there, too: