Category Archives: Sports

Shad Planking Today!

I’m headed down to Southside today for the Shad Planking.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event, Jonathan Martin‘s 2006 writeup sums it up best:

WAKEFIELD, VA — As it does every third Wednesday in April, VA’s political epicenter moved 40 miles east from Richmond to the piney woods outside of this small town yesterday. Known more for its free libations and easy access to many of the commonwealth’s most prominent pols than the nearly-inedible fish that gives the event its name, the Shad Planking is the can’t-miss rite of VA’s political spring. Part political festival, part booze fest, the gathering draws candidates, would-be candidates, past candidates and the junkies who love em all — and love the free draft beer they hand out even more.

Now in its 58th year, the Ruritan-sponsored soiree has changed some over the years — most conservative Dems have become conservative GOPers, blacks and women are now welcome and, perhaps more amazingly, Northern VA’ians are, too. Yet in many ways, it retains the same gossipy, back-slapping character it has had since they nailed the first freshly-caught, migrating shad to a board and cooked it over an open fire amid the peanut fields of Southside VA. Candidates shake hands, activists from all parts bend their ear, staffers pour cold ones in campaign cups and the locals ignore the hoopla for the fish, cole slaw and cornbread.

Martin’s article continued here.

I’ll have pictures and a writeup tomorrow.


Does Chicago’s Orbit Extend to Iowa?

Ben Tribbett at the indispensable, insightful and indubitable Not Larry Sabato blog suspects that Barack Obama‘s success in the vote-rich eastern belt of Iowa “had more to do with proximity to Illinois than it did with the candidates.”

It’s true that eastern Iowa is very much in Chicago’s orbit. Former Speaker Dennis Haster (R-Ill.), for example, did more for the city of Chicago than any other Member of Congress in the last 50 years. And yet his district extends to within six miles of the Iowa border.

Furthermore, Iowa is very much Chicago Cubs country, thanks in part to the 2004 AAA Pacific League Champion Iowa Cubs (The map of Nike baseball loyalties below shows how the reach of Wrigley fandom).

Obama actually took 500 of his best friends to an Iowa Cubs game for July 4, 2007. But unlike Hillary Clinton (a Cubs fan? Yankees?) or Rudy Giuliani (Yanks? Red Sox?!?), Obama makes clear where he baseball loyalties lie. He’s been quoted as saying, “I’m a White Sox fan all the way.”

Nike’s Baseball Loyalties Map Nike’s Baseball Loyalties Map

Illinois’ 14th District
Illinois’ 14th District

The Electoral Map Weekly Compass

The Electoral Map would like to introduce a new feature called the Weekly Compass.  It’ll include stories relating to the electoral map that aren’t big enough for a lengthy post, but are still important or interesting.

What do you think?  Is this informative or does it dilute the point of this blog?

  • Joel Kotkin explains why family-friendly cities like Houston, Dallas or Charlotte are growing faster than “young urban single professional” towns like Baltimore, Newark or Memphis

“Married people with children tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make economies go. They are twice as likely to be in the top 20% of income earners, according to the Census, and their incomes have been rising considerably faster than the national average.”

“With my beloved Red Sox the World champs again this year, it’s funny watching so many politicians trying to become citizens of Red Sox Nation.”

  • Reid Wilson (a fellow ex-Hotliner) sits down with the “Human Alamanac” a.k.a. Charles Mathesian, editor of the vital Almanac of American Politics. Excerpted from Mathesian:

“What’s important about 2006 is that Democrats have finally broken out of their demographic straight jacket, in terms of the districts that they now possess.


“[Going in 2006, Democrats] didn’t hold as many suburban districts as they once held. They didn’t hold as many rural districts. They didn’t hold very many Southern districts. As a result of 2006, they’ve really broken through and that’s going to be a tremendous advantage to the party as it shapes its message going forward.”

  • Greg Lemon at NewWest interviews Bob Brown, a former Montana Secretary of State and guru of Big Sky and Western demographics. Excerpted from Brown:

“Since the Rocky Mountain West is hard to define as a region, issues which are important politically throughout the region are not easy to identify.  Public lands management, rural communication systems and health services, stewardship of water, forests and rangelands, energy development and tribal sovereignty are all issues that are important in different parts of the West, but likely to be easily overshadowed by the ‘hot button’ themes that will characterize both campaigns nationally.”

  • John Judis at The New Republic trumpets blue trends in the Bluegrass State.

“The GOP’s grip on Kentucky began to loosen in 2004. Bush carried the state, but, according to exit polls, 40 percent of those who voted for him did so because they disliked John Kerry. In the Senate race that year, Republican Jim Bunning barely won reelection by two points against a little-known state senator. Then, two years later, Democrat John Yarmuth, the editor of an alternative Louisville newsweekly and, by his own description, an ‘unabashed liberal,’ upset five-term Representative Anne Northup. Democrats have also outpaced Republicans in new party registrants, adding 128,392 members from June 2005 to October 2007 while the GOP gained just 97,871. And, this week, in addition to reclaiming the governorship, Democrats scored landslide victories in statewide races for attorney general, treasurer, and auditor.”


Red Sox Nation To Put Politics On Hold

NBC/National Journal‘s Mike Memoli makes a great point about the Red Sox effect in New Hampshire: It’ll almost be pointless for the presidential candidates to campaign in the state while the Sox are in the World Series. News cycles for a couple of weeks will be dominated by the Sox, and politics will likely take a back seat.

Memoli (a diehard Yankees fan and an ex-Hotliner) and NBC’s Mark Murray point out:

“When Huckabee filed for the New Hampshire primary last week, a supporter noted that if the Red Sox won that night, he would be bumped off the front page. They did, and he was (assuming his filing would have been front-page news). And today, New Hampshire’s front pages have banner Red Sox headlines.

“The moral of the story? New Hampshire is deep in Red Sox nation, and another week of wall-to-wall baseball coverage means one less week of prominent political reporting. Boston NBC affiliate WHDH has said it’s holding off on serious primary reporting until the Red Sox run ends. That’s likely the case with the rest of Boston television, which is watched by many in the southern part of the state.”

New Hampshire is of course in the heart of Red Sox Nation. A group called Common Census has a feature where people can enter their zip codes and their favorite sports team. Armed with that data, Common Census maps out areas of fandom. As you can see, New Hampshire is securely within Red Sox Nation:

11 02 Baseball Nations

On the other side of Red Sox Nation is Connecticut. It’s the Iraq of baseball loyalty — it’s split between three groups: Red Sox fans in the East and Yankees fans in the West and South, and a Mets minority mixed in throughout the South. The New York Times ran a good map a while back drawing the border between these fierce rivals:

Red Sox Connecticut