The Week in Political Geography: Flanel Shirt Country

My fellow political cartographers - Sorry for the sparse posting recently.  It's been busy at New Media Strategies with an end of the year push, and most of my political geography time and resources have been devoted to @The_Almanac and major National Journal story I'm writing with Cook Report's Dave Wasserman about southwest Virginia. I promise to step it up and at least keep these weekly updates going. So without further ado...

Rep. Brian Baird is retiring. His southern Washington district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index rated at EVEN.  Bush took 50% and Obama 53%, so this is a prime target for Republicans.  According to the Almanac:

This was flannel-shirt country for many years, Democratic since the New Deal days. In the early 1990s, its resource-based economy was threatened by the environmental movement, which gave Republicans an opening.

Here's the map of the Democratic primary to succeed EMK in the Senate, and the best and worst towns for each candidate.

Wall Street Journal reports that an alarmingly high level of home foreclosures are "strategic defaults."  Not surprisingly, California, Nevada and Arizona stand out on the map.

Artur Davis walks a tightrope of appealing to both black and white constituencies in racially-polarized Alabama.

The New Republic looks at European Rust Belt revitalization projects as a model for Detroit.

Greater Greater Washington is a DC-based blog that has some of the sharpest and coolest city maps I've seen.  The Flickr page.