The 10 most interesting states in politics

January 11, 2013

On Tuesday, we asked Fixistas to undertake a very important mission: To tell us why your state is the most interesting state in politics.


Once again, you came through in spades.

We had some great entries for our contest. Below, we're highlighting the 10 best entries and (accordingly) the 10 most interesting political states — a designation that will surely go down in the history books for all 10.

Think your state was slighted? Take to the comments section and let us have it ...

To the line!

10. Illinois (courtesy of Jason522):

"Definitely Illinois. Four governors in the last 40 years convicted and sent to prison? Indisputable.

"Otto Kerner - 1961-1968 - convicted of bribery and tax evasion
Dan Walker - 1973-1977 - bank fraud, misapplication of funds, and perjury
George Ryan - 1999-2003 - corruption and bribery
Rod Blagojovich - 2005-2009 - corruption

"Could Pat Quinn be next? And let's not forget about Jesse Jackson Jr.! In Illinois the intrigue never ends!"

9. Vermont (courtesy of Elise Shanbacker):

"Add 'Most Politically Interesting State' to Vermont's long list of accolades. Among our many quirks: we are home to two-member state House districts, the only state capital without a McDonald's, and the only Socialist member of the U.S. Senate (Bernie Sanders). Our state House passed the first marriage equality law and the first single-payer health care law. Democrats usually run as candidates for both the Vermont Democratic Party and the Vermont Working Families Party. In spite of our progressive reputation, we have a split ticket with a Democratic governor and a Republican lieutenant governor. Our LGs are in fact quite interesting: our current LG races stock cars at Thunder Road, and our previous LG is a commercial pilot. Vermont also has a fairly prominent secessionist movement including the Second Vermont Republic and a Vermont Independence Party that convened in the state House (free of charge — it's the People's House after all) this fall to celebrate Vermont independence from the "U.S. Empire." On the wonkier side of things, the newly elected state auditor recently got into a policy debate over a Livable Wage Ordinance (which he authored) with a young small business owner in the local foods industry — in the comments section of a local blog! Even Bill McKibben chimed in on the thread to say, 'I love Vermont.' And of course, 'the Great State of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!'"

8. Georgia (courtesy of valdawgsta):


Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.). (John Bazemore/Associated Press)

"The most politically interesting state in the Union would most definitely have to be the Great State of Georgia. There are many reasons for this but the first would definitely come down to the state’s diversity. We have a little bit of everything here, and it’s somewhat proportional on both sides of the spectrum. From liberal Atlanta to the super-conservative constituents of rural Georgia, there is something for everyone here. Also, Georgia has the most number of counties east of the Mississippi River at 159. The story behind this is, in the past, the legislature wanted everyone in Georgia to be able to reach their county seat by horse and buggy in one day’s time. If that doesn’t get your heart racing with excitement then I don’t know what will! Also, ever heard of John Barrow? This dude is 'too turnt up.' Not only is he the only remaining white Democrat in the House from the Deep South, he won re-election after his district was made more Republican through redistricting. Barrow said, 'NAH IM GOOD IM STILL GONNA WIN THO.' You may be asking yourself, dang, what else makes Georgia the most politically interesting state? Well look no further, my friends: the county-unit system. This was a system used between the 1910s and the 1960s that classified counties into three groups by population and allocated points depending on this to determine who won primaries. Sounds like a good idea, but it made it possible for small counties to drown out the large counties around Atlanta. If you want the best reading of your life, just Google search that bad boy. You’ll be jumping up and down from excitement."

7. Ohio (courtesy GjonahJameson):

"Everyone knows Ohio's reputation as the ultimate swing state, but few outsiders can truly comprehend the overwhelming volume of campaign ads to which we're subjected every four years. The week before the general election, you're lucky if you see more than one non-campaign ad during any commercial break. The quantity of ads, I guess, makes up for their quality, which is usually appalling at best.

"Did I mention our politicians? Well, in 2012, the one you probably heard the most about was Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, our baby-faced state treasurer ... But that's not all: We're also the home state of U.S. Rep. John Boehner, Washington's answer to Charlie Brown; Gov. John Kasich, who started out brash and mouthy but then turned reasoned and introspective when voters repealed his collective bargaining legislation; and Sen. Sherrod Brown, who's way the heck more liberal than you'd think a swing state senator would be.

"We also have a Cleveland government that was completely revamped after ages of hilarious crookedness, a Columbus mayor with all the look and confidence of a young Billy Dee Williams, an absurdly gerrymandered statehouse (not that the Democrats didn't overcome the Republicans' 2000 gerrymandering!) and an all-Republican statewide office delegation, a complete 180 from the all-Democrats-but-one delegation from 2006. Oh, and we've sent more residents to the White House than any other state, with eight — half of whom croaked in office, including two assassinations and one sad sack who only lasted 30 days. That's plus the fattest president in history and a Civil War hero who turned out to be a super-corrupt president.

"So, most interesting state in politics? You know it, son."

6. Rhode Island (courtesy anchorandhope):

"Rhode Island has to be the most interesting state, politically, in the country. Ruled for centuries by the rural, Yankee, landowning elite and renown as one of the most corrupt bodies politic in the nation (personified by Sen. Nelson Aldrich and "Boss" Charles Brayton, who managed the Republican machine), the state became all at once heavily Democratic with T.F. Green's 'Bloodless Revolution' of 1935 and has stayed that way. Since then, the General Assembly has been ruled by the Democrats (although many of their big-D Democratic credentials are questionable) despite being the most Roman Catholic state, until last year, in the country. We continue to vote in overwhelmingly Democratic General Assembly classes and presidential candidates, yet we balance it by electing Republican (or previously Republican) governors. We are a dysfunctional little state with a fascinating cast of political characters: Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, Sens. John and Lincoln Chafee, Senator John Pastore (the first Italian-American senator), Patrick Kennedy, the aforementioned Aldrich, Brayton, and Green. The urban-rural dynamics play out in RI just as they do in every other state, except in RI, they are highly volatile because of how close we all are to each other!"

5. New Hampshire (rohr107):

"NH has to be one of the top 10 most interesting states. The third largest English-speaking legislative body in the world means that one out of every 3,000 people in NH serves in the State House. The state has a strong independent streak in a region that has increasingly identified with the political left. The tradition of town meetings and direct democracy at the town level is still alive and well and provides entertainment for folks that live in many of the smaller towns during mud season. ... Throw in a historical cast of characters that date back to Daniel Webster, and come to modern day folks as Warren Rudman, Judd Gregg and John Sununu, NH often has folks playing large roles in national affairs. Throw in the currently all-female delegation to DC as the latest landmark. All of this fun leaves out the greatest of NH political shows of the first in the nation primary, from the first rotary lunch a potential could be candidate is having now in NH, to the official setting up of exploratory committees to announcing the seeking of the nomination of a given party, surrounded by living room sessions, baked bean dinners, and other various requirements of running in NH. Then people get to come back because NH is one of a few states that has changed parties it has voted for over the last 20 years."

4. Louisiana (courtesy tidilee):


Convicted former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) recently announced he will star in a new TV show. (AP)

"Louisiana. We have a significant population that wants Edwin Edwards, convicted felon, back in the governor's office. Our U.S. Senators are from different parties. Our state capitol has been in several different cities. We have KKK leaders. Hurricanes. Oil spills. And were practically socialist during the (Huey) Long age. We use Napoleonic Law, have really weird primary systems, have parishes instead of counties. We have New Orleans and Mardi Gras and Cajun food. Bobby Jindal is our governor. ... Etc. etc. We win."

(The Fix would add that Edwards, pictured above, recently announced that he will star in a new TV show. You can't make this up.)

3. Iowa (courtesy of iowahedge):

"This is not a contest. Iowa has senators from different parties with a combined 93 years in public office, and a governor first elected to statewide office in 1978. We've never elected a woman to federal office or governor. But we graduated the first woman law student, produced a great 1st Amendment case in Tinker vs. Des Moines, led the nation on marriage equality and, oh yeah, launched the first African-American to a win in his first presidential contest. Our caucuses have produced moments of triumph for candidates as disparate as Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson, and the quadrennial political circus transforms straw polls and party dinners into folklore for political junkies. Chris, how many of your big-shot DC journo peers first met their significant other while on assignment in IA? That's what I thought. Have you hosted 'Politics and Pints' here? Mmmhmm. Is 'Morning Joe' at Java Joe's the best TV of the primary season? You bet Chris Matthews's oatmeal it is. The moment the C-SPAN bus rolls into our capitol parking lot, America knows another presidential election is on. Candidate pilgrimages to the Jefferson cattle barn, the Hamburg Inn No. 2, the soapbox, butter cow and the Big Boar prove it ain't a national election until we've deep fried it and put it on a stick."

2. New Jersey (courtesy mkmckoy):

"NEW JERSEY! We have the largest governor and the oldest senator! And when it comes to both offices, we kill it every time. Before having the largest governor (Christie), we had the richest governor (Corzine), who just copped to losing over a billion dollars of his clients' money. The governor before that (McGreevey) was the first and only gay governor in U.S. history and resigned for having an affair w/ his Israeli homeland security adviser, and he's now trying to become a priest. Our current governor was the star of the past presidential election for BOTH campaigns, and he didn't run, though many people openly begged him to! Instead, he gave the keynote address at the GOP Convention, and then gave Obama a needed boost at the end. As for senators, we have the oldest senator (Lautenberg), the only Cuban Democrat (Menendez), and after the next election we will probably have the only black Democrat (Booker). Our two senators, Lautenberg and Torricelli, used to come to near blows on a daily basis, and when Torricelli resigned, a retired Lautenberg came and snatched his seat. Baller! Before that our senator was Rhodes Scholar NBA player (Bradley). Baller! And we are the birthplace of the only president to win, lose, and then come back again (Grover Cleveland)! BALLER!"

1. South Carolina (courtesy of AmandaSC):

"Andrew Jackson. John C. Calhoun. Civil War. Fort Sumter. Confederate Flag. Ben Tillman. Strom Thurmond. Lee Atwater. First in the South. McCain vs. Bush. Lindsey Graham. Fritz Hollings. Charleston. Stephen Colbert. Appalachian Trail. Andre Bauer. Mark Sanford. Jenny Sanford. Nikki Haley. Tim Scott. Jim DeMint. Alvin Greene.

"Clearly South Carolina is the most interesting and has been for years. Where else can a person like Alvin Greene be connected by 'six degrees of separation' from statesmen like Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun, all by using relevant political persons/hot issues of the past 30 years? That's right: Nowhere.

"After all, the quote that has been true for the past 150 years, as stated by former congressman and anti-secessionist James Petigru in 1860: 'South Carolina: Too small to be a republic, too large to be an insane asylum.'"

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Next Story
Aaron Blake | January 11, 2013