Friday, March 19, 2010

Hanover County, Va.: "We're Number 8!"

The Daily Caller has compiled a list of the 100 most conservative counties in the United States.  Virginia has only three counties on the list, but Hanover County, near Richmond, earned the number eight spot:

8. Hanover County, Va.
Largest community: Mechanicsville

Some parts of Hanover County are two miles from Richmond. Other parts of the southern border are more than 15 miles from the city. Because of this, Hanover County is a hybrid suburban/exurban/rural county. Two miles from Richmond is suburban Mechanicsville. In the exurbs is Cold Harbor National Cemetery, which commemorates the Battle of Cold Harbor fought here in 1864. The rural section is where King’s Dominion amusement park is located. The county gave an astounding 76 percent of the vote to Bob McDonnell.
The Daily Caller could also have mentioned that Hanover County is the home base for Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.

The two other Virginia localities that made the list were Virginia Beach (55), which is actually a city, and Chesterfield County (29), also a suburb of Richmond.

Here's the entry on Virginia Beach:
55. Virginia Beach, Va.
Co-terminus with City of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a county masquerading as a city. Lrge parts of the county to the south are undeveloped. The isolated beach town of Sandbridge is more like the Outer Banks of North Carolina than the boardwalk area of Virginia Beach. The Hampton Roads have been called the best natural harbor on earth, and accordingly this is the main Atlantic base of operations for the Navy. It is culturally conservative, as this is where Pat Robertson and his Christian Broadcasting Network are from. While John McCain narrowly won the city-county, Virginia Beach native Bob McDonnell received about 64 percent of the vote last November.
Of course, Bob McDonnell is not a "native" of Virginia Beach; he was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Fairfax County.

And here's the Daily Caller's take on Chesterfield County:
29. Chesterfield County, Va.
Largest community: Midlothian

For those looking to locate the change of the Old South into the New, Chesterfield County is a textbook example. Chesterfield contains the southern suburbs of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. The area was tobacco country, giving name to the once prominent Chesterfield cigarettes. About 50 or 60 years ago, the rough-hewn nature of the county changed when Richmond, a city with much racial turmoil, began to move out to the suburbs. The county has moved in a white-collar direction, focused on the emerging edge city of Midlothian, a former mining community. Historically conservative, Chesterfield supported Bob McDonnell in last year’s governor’s race by a 2-to-1 margin.
For those who are curious, here are the Daily Caller's criteria for inclusion on the Top 100 list:
* How counties have voted in the past two presidential elections
* Median household income, factoring in cost of living
* Home ownership percentage
* Married family percentage
* Civilian veteran percentage
* State unionization laws, whether a right-to-work state or mandatory union state
* State tax burden–state income taxes, factoring in available deductions
* State concealed weapons laws, ease of carrying weapon legally
* State weekly religious attendance, as measured by Pew
* State abortion laws, as measured by Americans United for Life
* Intangibles, such things as a long conservative history, an ingrained military culture, prominent right-wing politicians

There are two qualifications:

A “county” must be a county-level unit, which includes parishes in Louisiana, independent cities in Virginia and boroughs/municipalities in Alaska

The population must be over 50,000 as of 2008.
That first qualification explains the presence of Virginia Beach on the list; the second qualification explains the absence of Charlottesville (in addition to all the other criteria that would have excluded it).

But here's a question: Why are only three Virginia counties on this list while Minnesota gets four (!) and Wisconsin gets three, too?  One would expect multiple entries from Texas and Alabama, but the Progressive strongholds of Wisconsin and Minnesota?

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J.R.Hoeft said...

McDonnell lived in Virginia Beach for more than 20 years and represented them in the House of Delegates for 14 years. He certainly is considered by those who live here as "Hampton Roads Own"

Rick Sincere said...

"Native" implies one's place of birth or, at the very least, the place where one spent one's childhood or formative years.

You can describe Bob McDonnell as a "longtime resident of Virginia Beach" or Virginia Beach as "Bob McDonnell's adopted hometown." You cannot, however, describe Bob McDonnell as a "native of Virginia Beach" because that changes a historical fact that cannot be changed.

No matter how long I live in Charlottesville, I will always be a native of Milwaukee. I might eventually be buried here, but I cannot have been born here.

Virginia Conservative said...

My question is, why didn't either Rockingham or Augusta county make the list? They are certainly conservative strongholds and if you look at voting trends, they routinely vote Republican in higher percentages than just about any other place in the state.