10. Cherokee County, Ga.
Largest city: Woodstock
This is the only the third-highest ranking of the metro Atlanta counties. The county is in large part overflow from built-out northern Fulton County. The two largest cities in the county, Woodstock and Canton, have more doubled their population in the past decade. The county is 75-80 percent Republican at the presidential level. The land in the south of the county is generally flat and developed, but the north of the county is at the foothills of the Appalachians.
9. Oldham County, Ky.
Largest city: La Grange
The East End has always been the “good” side of Louisville. Over the years, the area’s wealthy residents moved from Louisville itself to the suburbs of Jefferson County. Some have moved even further across the “crabgrass frontier,” to exurban Oldham County. This is the richest county in Kentucky and one of the wealthiest in America. It was a dry county until five years ago, when voters changed the alcohol laws in a referendum, a sign that the New South had arrived.
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.
7. Fayette County, Ga.
Largest city: Peachtree City
The south part of Atlanta is traditionally the poorer part of the city, but the southern suburbs of the city are just about as prosperous as anywhere else in northern Georgia. Peachtree City, appropriately named for an Atlanta suburb, was recently rated the 8th best place in America to live. The town is built around a series of golf-cart paths instead of roads, high-school kids are encouraged to drive the carts instead of cars to school. It has a higher percentage of veterans than most really wealthy counties.
6. Collin County, Texas
Largest city: Plano
North Dallas is traditionally the home of the richest people in Texas. The wealthy corridor north of Dallas has spread into northern Collin County. The giant settlement here is the city of Plano, which now has as many residents as Buffalo. Plano is the corporate headquarters of Frito-Lay, Dr. Pepper, EDS (Ross Perot’s company), JC Penney and Rent-a-Center. To the north, burgeoning Frisco now houses Dallas’s MLS team in custom-built Pizza Hut Park. This area is Republican territory, giving Texas native George W. Bush more than 70 percent of the vote.
5. Hamilton County, Ind.
Largest city: Carmel
Indianapolis has long been one of the most Republican cities north of the Mason-Dixon line, and the main suburban overflow county is a model of conservatism. Hamilton County to the north of Indianapolis is one of the richest counties in America. The cities on the border of the county, such as Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville, are now among the largest cities in Indiana, and they are overwhelmingly Republican. The county prides itself on being family-friendly, putting much effort in building recreational facilities and parks. Forbes called Hamilton County the best place in America to raise a child.
4. Shelby County, Ala.
Largest city: Alabaster
Birmingham is a modern metropolis and its growth can be seen to the southeast of the city in exurban Shelby County. This is an affluent, educated county, and the most consistently Republican county in Alabama. Bush won 80 percent of the vote here, making this one of the most conservative wealthy counties in America.
3. Montgomery County, Texas
Largest community: The Woodlands
The Woodlands, Texas could be viewed as a conservative’s vision of earthly paradise. The Woodlands is a master-planned community north of Houston that has swelled to more than 80,000 residents. The area has attracted major corporations to move out of Houston and relocate in surrounding office parks. The Woodlands features a major mall, town center, office buildings, concert venues, seven golf courses and a man-made canal flowing through the business district. Montgomery County, which also features some undeveloped areas to the north, gave Bush 78 percent in 2004 and McCain 75 percent.
2. Forsyth County, Ga.
Largest city: Cumming
The Democratic Party built its powerful urban machines on highly centralized networks of precincts and municipal organization. The Republican Party seems to have built its strongholds on decentralization. Forsyth County, northeast of Atlanta, has a little more than 150,000 residents. Only about 6,000 of them live in an incorporated area. The rest of the county is totally decentralized. In places like this, homeowner associations are more powerful than any branch of local government. Forsyth County gave George W. Bush 83 percent of the vote, better than Democrats did in cities like Philadelphia and Manhattan, and about dead even with San Francisco.
1. Williamson County, Tenn.
Largest city: Franklin
Never heard of Williamson County? Well, you need to start paying attention to it (The Daily Caller’s full story is here). It is number one on this list for a few reasons. First, when you factor cost of living into household income, Williamson County is the wealthiest county, not only on this list, but in America. Second, it is a reliably conservative county: McCain got 69 percent here and its congresswoman is Marsha Blackburn, a strong conservative. It has the single highest rate of married families on the list. Tennessee is a conservative state, with strong religious adherence and taxation only on interest and dividends. To top it off, it is home to some of the elite of Red America, like country singers Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton, and investment guru Dave Ramsey. This is Noam Chomsky’s version of hell.