Tonight is my last night in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I’ve been able to get a sense of how the Palmetto State governor’s race is being covered locally. While we political junkies wonder if Nikki Haley will emerge victorious, whether Gresham Barrett or Henry McMaster will catch up, or whether Andre Bauer will invent some new innovative technique in mudslinging, the race isn’t always the biggest issue on the minds of the locals.
Tonight, the top story on the 11 p.m. news broadcast on the Savannah, Georgia, ABC affiliate, which broadcasts into this part of South Carolina, was . . . the arrest of a housekeeper for stealing from celebrity chef and Savannah resident Paula Deen. The same story was the top item on the CBS affiliate. On the NBC affiliate, they were touting Matt Lauer’s interview with President Obama, where he talked about how he wants to know whose ass to kick.
A billboard depicting an unhappy face made out of oil-slicked shrimp in Okatie, South Carolina, is the next big story.
Eight minutes in, NBC affiliate WSAV did their wrap-up story. Todd Shaw, a University of South Carolina political-science professor, noted that the backlash against the affair allegations may have helped Nikki Haley slightly. They also noted that, surprisingly, voter turnout is expected to be low, based on the number of absentee ballots returned so far.
There’s a whole world outside of politics, even the night before a big, dramatic primary.