Andrew Boucher: South Carolina for Dummies
Okay, okay, so my business partner, Michael Biundo, wrote up a whole “Iowa and New Hampshire for Dummies” piece a few weeks ago.
Michael Biundo is one of only a handful of consultants whose clients have won both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary. He’s won more races in New Hampshire than just about anyone else in the past half-century. He’s been a New Hampshire State Representative (if you know, you know).
He is, indeed, an expert on New Hampshire.
But let’s cut to the chase. Michael Biundo is from New York. He’s a Yankees fan. He claims to be a Pats fan now, but he grew up flip-flopping between the Jets and Giants, both of which are unacceptable and ridiculous.
Me? Born and raised in New Hampshire. Grew up making maple syrup—former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party. If you see someone vaguely French-Canadian in the greater Concord-Penacook region of New Hampshire, they’re probably a cousin. I wrote my college thesis on the history of the New Hampshire Primary. I even wrote up the endorsement of the man who literally invented the New Hampshire Primary for a client and released it to the press posthumously (accidentally).
The late John DiStaso: “Andrew, are you saying that Dick Upton’s final act was to make this endorsement?”
Twenty-two-year-old Andrew: “Ummm… what?”
But, as they say, life intervenes, and now… now?
As a founding partner of Ascent Strategic, I’m the Chairman of the Charleston County Republican Party, the First in the South State of South Carolina.
While I may have met Chris Sununu at summer camp in the 1980s, Tim Scott used to be my Allstate agent (both true).
So, as a public service, I offer up some advice for the campaigns (and media) who survive the snowy wastes of New Hampshire next February and find themselves in South Carolina.
First things first, if you work for a campaign or a news organization and you end up in Columbia instead of Charleston, take the hint and start your job search – your boss doesn’t like you.
As I try to explain to my kids, “Dunkin Donuts” in South Carolina is not Dunkin Donuts – no disheveled baker is risking his marriage to wake up at 4:00 am because “It’s time to make the donuts.” The donuts are smaller and drier than the Dunkin Donuts up North. Try Krispy Kreme.
Yes, yes, South Carolinians hate Northerners. But if you end up in Charleston, you’ll find that most anger is aimed at Ohioans. (If you’re from Ohio, lie.)
Case in point: Charleston has two dominant accents: Southern and “Northern Refugee” (which sounds a lot like New York).
She-crab soup is better than New England clam chowder. Roasted oysters are better than steamers. It pains me to write this because I worked at a seafood restaurant in New Hampshire throughout high school, but trust me.
In February in Charleston, you will see people wearing winter coats, hats, and gloves in 50-degree weather. Understand that winter is a trying time for South Carolina natives and have some sympathy.
You probably ran into a few Pats fans in New Hampshire. Remember that people in South Carolina are vaguely aware that they play football on Sundays in some parts of the country.
There’s no South Carolina “political hub” equivalent of the bar at the Center of New Hampshire (or Radisson or whatever it is now), but hit me up, and we’ll hit some good restaurants.
Finally, if you’re actually from New Hampshire, and they sniff out your NH accent, they will assume you’re a liberal.
Now, if that happens, stay calm. Remind them that you’re from New Hampshire, not Massachusetts or Vermont. And then reassure them, “We hate all those other sunsobitches too.”
(Also, stay away from the alligators.)