Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is expected to return to Kansas City for a midday rally on Wednesday, just days before the Kansas caucuses on March 5.
The Vermont senator appeared at the National Council of La Raza convention — as did Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley —last July.
No word yet on where Sanders will appear. Over the years presidential candidates have rallied supporters at Liberty Memorial, Union Station and local schools and businesses. And yes, more than a few of them have eaten barbecue here.
Here’s a quick look at some of the presidential candidates who have campaigned here in recent years.
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Republican Rick Santorum
After a March campaign rally at Harvest Graphics in Lenexa, Santorum fired back at opponent Mitt Romney’s claim that it would take an “act of God” for Santorum to win the Republican nomination.
“If the governor (Romney) thinks he is now ordained by God to win, let’s just have it out,” said Santorum.
Santorum handily won the Kansas caucus after telling Republican voters to “keep that center of the country bright red strong conservative,” but Romney won the nomination.
Republican Mitt Romney
In March, Romney stopped at William Jewell College in Liberty to tell Missouri voters why they shouldn’t re-elect Barack Obama: “He has failed. He’s not a bad guy. He just is over his head.” He didn’t mention any of his Republican primary opponents by name.
In June Romney also appeared on stage at the Midland Theatre with President Obama during an Alice Cooper concert.
In September, Romney’s campaign plane was forced to make an unscheduled stop at Kansas City International Airport, and his staff had a catered meal of Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue brought to the plane. Romney stepped off the plane for a short time to talk to a small group of people who came to see him.
Libertarian Ron Paul
It only took 76-year-old Paul 36 minutes to rile up an enthusiastic rally crowd full of young people packed into Union Station’s North Waiting Room on a Saturday night in February. “It feels like the revolution has arrived,” he greeted his followers.
Democrat Barack Obama
As a candidate, Obama drew huge crowds in both Kansas City and St. Louis in October. More than 75,000 people gathered around the Liberty Memorial, and an estimated 100,000 heard him speak at the Gateway Arch. In the last days leading up to the election, the campaign set up appearances in large outdoor venues to accommodate huge crowd capacities.
Republican John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin
In September, Palin’s drawing power as a candidate was on full display as the duo drew exuberant crowds inside and outside The Pavilion at John Knox Village.
“Was that a great choice for the American people?” an excited McCain told thousands of supporters. “What a great reformer. What a great governor. The most popular governor in the United States of America!”
During their trip the running mates surprised the crowd at Arthur Bryant’s.
Hillary Clinton and Republicans Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson also campaigned in the Kansas City area.
Democrat John Kerry
Secret Service estimated that 20,000 people crowded in front of Union Station in August to rally for Kerry and running mate John Edwards. Kerry’s campaign called it the biggest crowd yet of his campaign.
Republican George W. Bush
In September, the incumbent president visited Lee’s Summit High School during a controversial visit. Some residents accused the school district of “political polarization” by allowing the visit. The Republican Party reportedly rented the school for $12,800.
Democrat Al Gore
In early November, The New York Times noted that “Kansas City and St. Louis feel like Grand Central Terminal on the presidential express these days ... the candidates or their surrogates seem to be in one Missouri town or another every other day.”
Vice President Gore, running against Gov. George W. Bush, made two trips to Kansas City within days of each other toward the end of the campaign.
Gore invoked Harry S. Truman’s name in front of several hundred screaming supporters in Kansas City.