Published: Sept. 19, 2015 By

In our Anecdotal Evidence column, movers and shakers share personal stories of how intriguing (and often odd) campaigning in their respective swing state can be.

Michael Thomas – Richmond-based Republican Consultant

Michael thomas

Michael Thomas. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

“Virginia is a very different state then what it was many years ago. I’ve seen reporters go ape over this event we have every spring, called the Shad Planking. It is an outdoor event put on by the Wakefield Ruritan Club. It started back in the 1930s (as a tribute to the start of the fishing season) as a Democrats-only thing (the event was an opportunity for Democratic party leaders to select the next governor).

“Now there are probably more Republicans there. It’s old Virginia. Politicians like to go and meet lots of people (For more information on the political history of Shad Planking, click here).

“But Virginia is not that anymore. People don’t gather once a year and somebody stands up and says, ‘This is the guy’ and it is all done. It doesn’t work that way any more. You go there and people fly a confederate flag on their house or have it on the license plate of their pickup truck. But that’s not Virginia.

“Virginia is two different states – Northern Virginia and the rest of Virginia. And the rest of Virginia is not all the same either. The misconception is to look at Virginia as the capital of the confederacy, a southern state. It is probably more southern than Maryland, but it is very different.”


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