The nutty candidate

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

He’s not accused of shirking military duty.

He’s not accused of starting an unjustified war.

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He’s just nutty – and he admits it.

Suffolk’s hometown boy, Mr. Peanut, is hot on the campaign trail in hopes of winning one of five coveted spots on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame next month. He is one of 25 advertising icons vying for a seat on the New York City attraction due to be unveiled in late September.

The American Association of Advertising is sponsoring an on-line election for voters to select the top five icons that will appear on the walk of fame.

People can vote for Mr. Peanut by going to and clicking on the &uot;vote now&uot; box.

Voting ends on Sept. 5.

Though he’s known worldwide today, the famed Planters Peanut goober hasn’t forgotten his humble roots in Suffolk.

He’s counting on his friends here to get him a winning spot, said Larry Baumann, spokesman for Kraft Foods, the parent company of Planters.

&uot;Mr. Peanut has got lots of support in Suffolk because of his local connections,&uot; he said. &uot;He’s looking forward to carrying the state of Virginia.&uot;

Local resident Donna Perry said the legendary icon has her vote – and that of everyone in her email address book.

&uot;I emailed this to everyone I know,&uot; Perry said. &uot;I’m hoping everyone votes for Mr. Peanut.

&uot;I’m going to New York this fall and I am looking forward to seeing a piece of Suffolk there.&uot;

Unlike many characters on the campaign trail this year, voters can rest assured they will find an honest leader in Mr. Peanut.

&uot;How many other candidates are going to get up there and freely admit they are nuts?&uot; Baumann said. &uot;Mr. Peanut has dignity, class.&uot;

The legume is up against some stiff competition – cute animals, appealing little girls. He got to beat the likes of the Coppertone and Morton Salt girls, Tony the Tiger, the AFLAC Duck and Charlie the Tuna for the coveted spots.

Mr. Peanut uses his platform to promote the value of healthy eating, particularly important in light of increasing media attention given to childhood obesity.

It’s doubtful much of the leading competition – such as that giggling Pillsbury Doughboy or those hard-working Keebler Elves – will play up that issue.

The many peanut farmers in Suffolk can be sure Mr. Peanut is going to look out for them too, Baumann added.