A while back I commented on Redstone and compared it to Fort Beck:

It reminds me of all I liked about Fort Beck, where I lived in Deseret, in comparison to Mocum, where I worked. Mocum had the whole “Mormon town” thing that was problematic to a Gentile like me, but in addition to that and despite the better amenities, the better economy, the more educated population, and a number of other factors I never warmed to it the same way I warmed to the usually disdained Fort Beck. Fort Beck and Redstone are both disdained by their respective states, but in my view both had more personality than the places populated with people disdaining them.

One of the things these two towns have in common is that they are both blue dots in seas of red. Redstone in particularly is a Democratic stronghold owing back to its mining days and the unions that protected the minors’ interests.

Fort Beck is historically blue-to-purple owing primarily to unions as well, in this case railroad and manufacturing unions. However, unlike Redstone, Fort Beck is trending purple. It started shortly before we moved there. Beck County was host to what were known as the Beck County Eight, a group of six state reps and state senators that were members of the Democratic supra-minority in the state legislature. Deseret is a very conservative state and so this was a significant portion of the liberal delegation. However, that started to change as the Mormon population increased and as union power waned. So all six were considered vulnerable in the 2004 election.

I didn’t have a TV with any reception during the 2004 election, so after dropping off at the voting booth I needed to find some place to watch the election returns come in. I chose the diner that happened to be the location of the election party of the Beck County Democratic Party. I didn’t know this at first. I jut happened to strike up a conversation with another guy at the bar who happened to be a firey liberal. Then another guy joined in and he was to the left of the first guy. I was feeling positively rightwing. Eventually I put the pieces together.

At some point a little later in the evening I saw a man being interviewed by the local TV network. I asked Bill, the guy sitting next to me, who the interviewee was. Turns out it was State Senator Don Edwards, one of the Beck County Eight. When Edwards was done and the TV cameras were gone, he sat down next to Bill and they started a conversation. Bill commented that some mutual acquaintance of theirs (a Republican, I gathered) said that he was confident that all of the BC8 would be wiped out.

To which Edwards replied, “If they’re going to vote against themselves like that, this shithole deserves what it gets.”

Not how you expect a state senator to refer to the town which he represents.

Bill’s Republican acquaintance was wrong, the Beck County Eight were not wiped out despite Bush taking the state by a nearly 40% margin. Instead, they became the Beck County Seven, with Edwards being the only Democrat to lose. Notably, this was not because he was in a more conservative district within the county. The districts are overlapping and the same voters who returned 7 of the 8 were the ones that left him out. Perhaps it was not the first time he expressed contempt for his constituency.

Category: Statehouse

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