Some Candidates Find Spoils Beyond the Fairground

NYT FDJonathan Martin 8/17/2015

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Good Monday morning, a day of recovery for many of the candidates who were perhaps required by custom and duty to cheat on their diets at the Iowa State Fair this weekend. While most of the candidates move on to a full week, others were busy outside the fair’s lively lights, seeking money rather than votes on an upscale and tourist-filled Massachusetts island.

To glance at the news, most readers would surely think the State Fair in Des Moines was the center of the political universe. After all, it is where Jeb Bush mixed a pre-noon beer with a deep-fried Snickers, where Hillary Rodham Clinton munched a pork chop on a stick and where Donald J. Trump landed his helicopter.

But if you happened to be spending a few days this month on Nantucket, and to have a few thousand dollars to spare, you could see nearly as many candidates.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was there on Friday, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mrs. Clinton were there on Sunday, while Mr. Bush is coming to the island off Cape Cod in Massachusetts on Thursday. None are fishing for voters — and certainly not news media attention.

They were lured, like many politicians, by the wealthy summer residents and visitors thronging the island’s fund-raisers.

The dueling destinations not only represent two very different slices of Americana, they also illuminate what are effectively parallel presidential campaigns. There is the one playing out for public consumption (see: pork photo ops) and that which dares not speak its name too loudly: asking the wealthy for contributions behind closed doors with nary a deep fryer in sight.