Appling, Ga. – The main crossroads in Appling features a few county government buildings, a rusted-out barn and a statue of a pioneering Baptist minister. There’s little to indicate that this area is a hotbed of conservative activism.
That’s exactly the conclusion drawn by CrowdPac, a political startup that culled the donations that residents in nearly 5,000 cities gave to federal and state-level candidates since 2002 and used the findings to analyze the nation’s most conservative and liberal towns.
And there was Appling, dubbed the nation’s third-most-conservative enclave, just behind two Texas towns and ahead of the likes of Cripple Creek, Colo., and Sumiton, Ala. (Some of the names on the liberal side of the ledger were more predictable, including Ithaca, N.Y., and Berkeley, Calif.).
To say Appling is actually a town is a misnomer. Named for the pioneering Appling family, the area lost its city charter in the 1990s but still serves as the official seat for Columbia County, a county of 140,000 next to Augusta.
Republicans in the county — where three out of every four residents are white — have a firm grip on the four-seat commission, and residents overwhelmingly backed Gov. Nathan Deal in 2014 and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.