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The Gainesville (Georgia) Times reports that “Tuesday’s runoff election between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel show a clear divide between rural and urban Georgians. And in the rare occasion that the metro Atlanta vote didn’t trump all, rural Georgia won an election for Deal.”

The two were running for the Republican nomination for governor. Nathan Deal is a congressman from North Georgia. His Ninth Congressional District is the 38th most rural in the United States, with 53% of his constituents living in rural areas. Karen Handel was Georgia Secretary of State. Before that, she ran the Chamber of Commerce in Fulton County (i.e., Atlanta) and she was a Fulton County Commissioner.

Deal won 102 of 159 counties — and 50.2% of the total vote. Handel won the cities, but not by enough to overcome Deal’s advantages in rural Georgia, according to reporter Ashley Fielding. Handel won a few rural counties, Fielding wrote, but “Deal’s support in rural Georgia was overwhelming.” He will face former Gov. Roy Barnes in November. 

• The investigation of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster continues and Ken Ward Jr. tells us that with all the bluster between the company and the federal mine safety agency, we are learning little about why miners continue to die digging coal.

Ward contends that media reports are playing up conflict between Massey Energy and the Mine Safety and Health Administration — all the while losing focus on the main issue, which is why the explosion happened in the first place. 

• It’s state fair time and the Des Moines Register reassures us that the biggest boar hogs come to us the old fashioned way.

Dan Piller reports that the last five State Fair Big Boars have come from traditional open barnyards rather than the modern industrial confinements that now produce at least 70 percent of Iowa’s hogs. Artificial insemination has taken over about 80 percent of breeding in Iowa. But in most traditional barnyard operations, boars still mate the way nature intended.”

The Iowa state champion big boars can top 1,200 pounds. (See the picture of Buddy, the 2009 winner, owned by Gary and Cindy Kingsbury.) Only 100,000 boars are around to provide the necessary ingredient (sperm) to produce more than 20 million hogs born annually in Iowa.

Pillar gives us this statistic: “The chances of a male pig at birth surviving beyond a year to become one of the one-half of 1 percent of Iowa pigs that are boars are about the same as a high school football player making it to the NFL.” 

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