A lot of what you see at presidential primary events is pretty standard: a national political figure, local officials, members of the press, and, of course, voters.
On this night at the Snowshoe Club in Concord, there was something else: a long table with sixteen pies.
The guest of honor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, says he mostly adheres to a paleo diet, which doesn’t include baked goods. But in the spirit of the evening, he dug into a slice of blueberry pie – and the potential 2016 candidate had no regrets over indulging.
“The hell with the diet,” he said to laughter. “Where are the French fries?”
This is a Politics and Pie event, put on by the Concord City Republican Committee. Chair Kerry Marsh says the committee wanted to see to it that presidential hopefuls stopped to meet with Concord voters. And, as she puts it, “Who doesn’t like pie?"
In addition to bringing 2016 hopefuls to town, Marsh says she hopes the pies will serve as "a community type of food. We use the Crust and Crumb in downtown Concord, we want to support our local businesses. But also our members, and some of the volunteers and attendees, bring some pies as well that they’ve baked. It’s a very community oriented food, I think.”
Jeb Bush, in fact, brought some pies of his own to the event – key lime pie, a Florida specialty. “I want to make sure the people of New Hampshire get a taste of the best pie in the world," he said, "from Joe’s Stone Crab.”
Marsh says Politics and Pie events have surpassed her expectations. Turnouts have been strong, and the committee is already preparing for its fifth such event. The special guest next week will be real estate mogul and former TV host Donald Trump.
The only problem: with dozens of declared and potential candidates, there could be a LOT of pie between now and primary day.
“We are encouraging exercise in between Politics and Pie events, yes,” Marsh says. “It’s really hard – you come in with a plan of self-restraint and it just goes out the window.”