The Washington Post

Mapping Chick-fil-A Nation

Over at The New York Times, Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin take a look at the Chick-fil-A belt, an area covering thousands of miles of Southern suburbs and exurbs where new residents have little connection to the politics of the past. That hurts incumbents like Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who could once count on the projects and federal money they brought home to their states for political points.

The newly built communities where these new residents live — Parker and Martin point to DeSoto County, Miss., and Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield Counties, Va. — are proving political minefields for members like Cochran and Cantor. They each lost those areas in primary elections this month. As residents migrate from one region to another, especially in their older years and especially from Rust Belt states to Sun Belt states, politics is increasingly national, and decreasingly local.

Naturally, that got us thinking: How can we map the Chick-fil-A belt? Here’s where the company has outposts, according to its Web site:


Source: chick-fil-a.com

The new residents “don’t know who the heck Thad is,” Karl Rove told Parker and Martin. “There is no 40-year history with him, knowing that this is the guy who built up the state’s modern Republican Party. The same with Eric, people who have just gotten to Richmond don’t even know what the House of Delegates is, let alone that he served there.”

The lesson for Republicans running in primary elections: No matter how long you’ve served, your accomplishments for constituents back home matter little. It’s what you’ve done about the Affordable Care Act, or some other way to oppose the Obama administration, that counts to primary voters. Especially if you hope to represent a district with a Chick-fil-A.

 

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Republicans debated Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Highlights from Saturday's GOP debate
Except for an eminent domain attack from Bush, Trump largely avoided strikes from other candidates.

Christie went after Rubio for never having been a chief executive and for relying on talking points.

Carson tried to answer a question on Obamacare by lamenting that he hadn't been asked an earlier question about North Korea.
The GOP debate in 3 minutes
Listen
Play Video
Quoted
We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're booing me? I don't want their money!
Donald Trump, after the debate crowd at St. Anselm's College booed him for telling Jeb Bush to be "quiet."
Listen
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 38%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.