The Daily Caller is ranking the most conservative friendly counties in America. On Monday, we counted down numbers 81-100. On Tuesday, we looked at numbers 61-80. Now it’s time for the third installment: numbers 41-60 (click for slideshow).
A quick reminder of our criteria:
- 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
A “county” must be a county-level unit, which includes parishes in Louisiana, independent cities in Virginia and boroughs/municipalities in Alaska, and the population must be over 50,000 as of 2008.
Check back soon for our list of the 100 most liberal-friendly counties in the U.S.
60. Cobb County, Ga.
Largest city: Marietta
In 1978, this county elected its first Republican to the House. This congressman was Newt Gingrich, and that date was a landmark in turning the South into Republican territory. This county is now firmly part of the New South, as it is one of the best-educated counties in the nation. The sprawling edge city of Cumberland would dismay advocates of “smart growth” but it houses the Weather Channel and the headquarters of Home Depot. This is one of the most heavily populated counties to make the list and is now nearly as large as Atlanta’s Fulton County.
59. Kaufman County, Texas
Largest city: Terrell
Kaufman County adjoins Dallas County to the east. Some of Dallas County’s largest suburbs, like Mesquite, have parts in Kaufman County. The largest town, Terrell, still has more in common with undeveloped rural East Texas than the glittering Metroplex. It lags behind some neighboring counties due to its status as a middle-class rather than upper-middle class county.
58. Carver County, Minn.
Largest city: Chanhassen
Southwest of Minneapolis is Carver County. Its German heritage is apparent, as it features cities called Cologne, Hamburg and New Germany. It has developed into some of the area’s richest suburbs. The most famous resident is Prince. The Purple One long maintained an estate in Chanhassen. Politically, it is about 60 percent Republican.
57. Sherburne County, Minn.
Largest city: Elk River
Sherburne is the highest-ranking Minnesota county. It has one of the highest standards of living of any American county. It is the most consistently Republican of the suburban Twin City counties. Minnesota is a middling state for conservatives. It is a strong union state, but is generally pro-gun. Religiously, it is about right in the middle. Tax rates are higher than average.
56. Carroll County, Md.
Largest community: Eldersburg
Carroll County is a red island in the deep blue sea of Maryland. It is named for Founding Father Charles Carroll (who did not live here). It is a mostly rural county, but the southeastern edge closest to Baltimore is suburbanized. It maintains a cheaper cost of living than the more coastal Maryland counties. Conservative legend Whittaker Chambers maintained his farm here.
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.
54. Tooele County, Utah
Largest city: Tooele
It’s not exactly surprising to see a Utah county make this list. Tooele County, bigger than Connecticut, is almost all mountains or desert. The famous Bonneville Salt Flats is the premier top speed raceway in the world. To get to the small basin suitable for development, you must avoid a mountain range separating the county from the Salt Lake Basin. Even so, Tooele County has been growing rapidly.
53. Midland County, Texas
Largest city: Midland
The young Yalie George H.W. Bush turned his back on his patrician Connecticut heritage and made his fortune in the then emerging west Texas oil industry. Midland became the largest city between El Paso and San Antonio and it would in time be able to claim two American presidents. The congressional district centered on Midland was the younger Bush’s single best in 2004.
52. Brazoria County, Texas
Largest city: Pearland
More than 400 miles from Midland is the rather different Texas county of Brazoria. As opposed to west Texas’s dusty oil culture, Brazoria County is a hot, humid county on the Gulf of Mexico. Its most famous native is famous Congressman Ron Paul. Closest to Houston is Pearland, the fastest growing area in one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. This is affluent conservative land, parts of which were in Tom DeLay’s district when he was in the House.
51. Ottawa County, Mich.
Largest city: Holland
The Dutch Reformed community that immigrated to the U.S. in the 19th century was a distinctive immigrant group. The center of its American immigration was western Michigan, and while Grand Rapids is the center of Dutch America, Ottawa County is the most Dutch by percentage. In a resounding contrast to the modern Netherlands, the Dutch are considered to be the most conservative ethnic group in all of modern America (only the Cubans are close). Ottawa County is on the right bank of Lake Michigan. Its largest city is appropriately named Holland. House Intelligence ranking member Pete Hoekstra is representative of the area’s conservative tradition.