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Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Heinz Factor & Western Pennsylvania

Posted by Seamus

It is often noted that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia & Pittsburgh with Alabama in between. While the basic implications of this are true it does overlook something else - the significantly different political landscape between eastern and western Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is the fourth largest media market in the country and much of the Poconos, although rural, is democratic and dominated by visitors from New York City, Philadelphia, and suburban New Jersey. Pittsburgh, in contrast, seems more like an island surrounded largely by a small suburban area (by eastern Pennsylvania standards) and very conservative rural areas.

One of the landscape differences that is unique to the 2004 Presidential election is the direct involvement of the Heinz Family through Teresa Heinz. Now, the Heinz family isn't new to politics but this is most definitely different by prior accounts given the national scope of the election and the state of the nation. I know from experience that in rural Pennsylvania, the Heinz Endowments, in which Teresa plays a significant role, themselves can be voiced as a sort of slur where the implication is often tied to some grand conspiracy of liberals. Actually, conspiracy theories are popular in these parts and are deep rooted in some of the bizarre power dynamics of western Pennsylvania.

Anyhow, the short of this is that the involvement of Teresa Heinz's husband John Kerry in the Presidential race will have some impact on the election in 2004. I think we will hear a lot of conservative hyperbole about the Heinz family and some of this will connect with voters. On the other hand, I think that the memory of Senator Heinz and the general positive feeling that people get from having a geographic representative of sorts can be helpful to Kerry. In either case, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette took a look at how the ketchup company itself is being affected and how this has already taken a hold on conservative talk radio.

Posted at 07:25 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati


Eastern PA also has the Anthrazite field (Democrat)

Posted by: Al at April 7, 2004 03:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment