Total Number of Delegates: 101 Pledged: 83 Unpledged: 18
How to Recognize a Virginia Delegate: The American Civil War ended in 1865, but not for Virginians. The battles that rage daily are no longer between the Union and the Confederacy, but between the "come-heres" who move to Northern Virginia and the "from-heres" who live in Southern Virginia. The feud between the NoVAs and the SoVAs, as they are most frequently called, started 143 years ago, when carpetbaggers decided to relocate to Arlington, Virginia, after Reconstruction. Shocked SoVAs, weakened by a lack of air-conditioning and a bounty of mint juleps, were powerless to do anything beyond griping and social snubbing. Fredericksburg has historically been considered the dividing line between the groups, but sharp increases of SUV registrations, Starbucks locations and property values in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville and Richmond seem to indicate that the NoVAs are gaining ground. Despite their differences, the two warring factions remain distinctly Virginian. A mutual distrust of one another is what ties NoVAs and SoVAs together. In Denver, Virginians will be the smiley delegates who are the most standoffish. They will be the people who take ten minutes to perform a five-minute task, in a thinly disguised act of passive aggression that they pass off as Southern charm. Not surprisingly, Virginians display their co-existing personality contrasts in the parallel universe of fashion by wearing striped shirts in both horizontal and vertical patterns. They are casual summer dressers. Females will wear only capri pants in a full range of colors that correspond to body weight. For instance, 120 pounds is to white as 400 pounds is to navy, with tones changing at every ten-pound increment in between. Black capris are reserved for formal occasions. Males will wear khakis and frequently sport bow ties during parades and picnics. All are fond of short-cut hairstyles that don't bunch under sun hats.
Famous Virginians: America's first celebrity, Pocahontas; America's first president, George Washington; ninth United States president William Henry Harrison; twelfth U.S. president Zachary Taylor; explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark; early civil-rights activists Nat Turner, Dred Scott and Booker T. Washington; writers Willa Cather and Tom Wolfe; journalist Katie Couric; actors Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Rob Lowe and Sandra Bullock; comedians Wanda Sykes and Jason Sudeikis; musicians Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Dean, June Carter Cash, Bruce Hornsby, Neko Case, Keller Williams, Jason Mraz, Aimee Mann, Steve Earle, Missy Elliott, Mike Watt, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo; bands GWAR and Dave Matthews Band; tennis champ Arthur Ashe; televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
Famous Virginia Democrats: Third United States president Thomas Jefferson; 4th U.S. president James Madison; 5th U.S. president James Monroe; 10th U.S. president John Tyler; 28th U.S. president Woodrow Wilson; 69th governor and 2008 United States Senate candidate Mark Warner; junior senator Jim Webb; Falls Church City Councilman Lawrence Webb.
Famous Virginians With Denver Connections: Colorado capital city namesake and Kansas Territory governor James W. Denver; Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter; CBS4Denver news readers Tom Mustin and Ericka Lewis; Denver Nuggets point guard Allen Iverson; Palmer Divide bluegrass banjo player Mickey Stinnett.
State Nickname: Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents, Mother of States (official); the Peanut Belt, Ham Country, Old Virginia, East Virginia (unofficial)
Population: 7,642,884 Racial Distribution: 67% white, 20% black, 5% Asian, 7% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $33,671 Unemployment: 5.1%
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE VIRGINIA DELEGATION
Most Virginian Denver Neighborhood: Lowry Field
Most Virginian Bar: The Loft 821 22nd Street The music selection is as diverse as the state's populace, and the upstairs/downstairs layout will help separate the NoVAs from the SoVAs.
Most Virginian Restaurant: Trinity Grille 1801 Broadway All of the favorite foods of Virginia, from Chesapeake lump blue crab cakes to Germantown schnitzel and smoked trout.
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Best Day Trip: Salida Colorado goes through more tourism slogans than a drunk macker goes through pick-up lines at let-out. "Enter a Higher State"; "Colorado and No Place Else"; "Let's Talk Colorado." With each ever-more-insipid and meaningless come-on, the state seems more desperate and emotionally unavailable to the very people it seeks to attract. Conversely, these same tourists have been flocking to Virginia in droves ever since the state adopted the "Virginia Is for Lovers" slogan back in 1969. And it's not because Virginia is any lovelier than Colorado. It's because Virginia gives her tourists the confidence they need to explore her unfamiliar places. The slogan started out as an advertising concept that read "Virginia Is for History Lovers." For the beach-oriented ad, the slogan would be changed to "Virginia Is for Beach Lovers." For the mountains, "Virginia Is for Mountain Lovers." But the budget was small and the approach too limiting, so the ad agency dropped the modifiers and made history. The slogan has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone loves Virginia! Such high expectations could lead to performance anxiety for most timid Colorado tourist towns, but not Salida. It's the one Colorado destination than can dish it out as good as it takes, if not better. Salida has everything: hot springs pool, cowboys, trails, quaint homes, bikes, galleries, river rafting, dog motels, grizzled intellectuals, a skatepark with wicked bowls, and enough weird and horny artists to make a short visit seem like a lifetime. Ask the concierge at the delegate hotel for directions onto I-25 south, then take exit 201 onto southbound U.S. Highway 285. The 130-mile trip traverses the Tarryall Mountains west of Denver and then skirts the spectacular Collegiate Peaks Range through South Park, a wide valley of panoramic cattle ranches and potty-mouthed cartoon characters. At Colorado Highway 291, turn left and drive another twelve miles toward the hill with the big letter "S" to find the town of Salida. And remember, dear lovers, we are not here to "talk" Colorado; we are here to just do it.
-- Kenny Be