The Beaufort Shrimp Festival is never a particularly cheery time under the sea, but for Detlef Shrimpf, chancellor of the Shellfish League, the increased scrutiny must make it seem like he’s in a pressure cooker.
“Everyone’s thinking about it, so I’m not going to beat around the seaweed: The timing of the Shrimp Festival really couldn’t be any worse, especially in an election year,” Shrimpf said. “No candidate has ever won re-election mainly because it’s so easy to campaign against the festival when the incumbent chancellor really can’t do anything to prevent it.”
Shrimpf’s challenger this year, Crustacea Aguilera, holds an emotional advantage in addition to her strategic one.
“I’ve lost more than 25,000 children to commercial fishing. As a mother, can you imagine my pain, watching the humans frolic and celebrate, not only by cooking and devouring but also having beheading competitions of what could be my kids?!” Aguilera said at a recent rally. “Who do you want as your chancellor: Someone who will fight for her family or someone who clearly hasn’t?”
Shrimpf’s chief of staff, Clam Newton, has maintained that Shrimpf inherited a messy situation and that it’s a credit to his chancellorhood that the festival hasn’t gotten any worse. According to the census, the community loss for the weekend has not increased over the past four years.
“Aguilera is campaigning on fear,” Newton said. “There are a lot of scared shrimp out there, and she’s playing right into that. Look closely, and you’ll see she hasn’t presented any of her own ideas to solve the problem.”
Newton also has made sure to point out that it was in Shrimpf’s first year as chancellor that the festival’s Charity Shrimp Race debuted, which features rubber shrimp “racing” instead of actual shrimp racing.
“It would be incredibly demeaning if citizens were ridden like deep-sea horses,” Newton said. “It’s not a coincidence that never happened under Shrimpf’s watch.”
According to the most recent Scallop poll, Aguilera holds a six-point lead over Shrimpf. However, the poll has a 15 percent margin of error, as many of those polled might not get to the ballot box.
“Oh, Shrimpf has done a terrible job. He needs to go — and everyone I know feels the same way,” community leader the Rev. Al Shrimpton said. “Unfortunately, none of us expect to live that long.”
Shrimpf, who won office four years ago when leaked photos showed former Chancellor Shelldon Cooper posing shortly after molting, has vowed to continue campaigning. He will be on hand for a moment of silence today to honor the victims from this year’s festival, which will coincide with the past 17 moments of silence that haven’t ended because shrimp don’t actually make any sounds. After that, he is expected to spend the rest of the day preparing for an upcoming debate.
Despite the poor numbers, Shrimpf remains hopeful.
“I’ve got to keep my antennae up,” he said. “Not only in the metaphorical sense for the election, but, more importantly, because predators can eat me at any moment.”
Andy wants to take a moment to insist that this column has no intention of being political commentary and is just a silly story about two shrimp running campaigns during the Beaufort Shrimp Festival.