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In a state that turned out heavily for Donald Trump, Daviess County led the pack

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Posted at 9:40 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 10:27:17-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana went red at the polls for Donald Trump on Tuesday night, but one place stood out above the rest: Daviess County.

The rural southwestern county – bordered by the Hoosier National Forest to the east and Vincennes and the Indiana/Illinois border to the west – gave 79 percent of its votes to Trump.

Franklin County came in a close second at 78 percent. Decatur, Martin, and Ripley counties wound up in a three-way tie for third.

Click the image below to see the election results for all of Indiana's counties:

Daviess County GOP Chair Janet Schuler-Hicks said that should be surprising: The county's 33,000 residents are exactly the sort of people Trump said he was campaigning for.

"Daviess County is a mostly blue collar workforce," Hicks said. "We have a lot of coal miners, a lot of farmers. And Donald Trump spoke our language. He's going to improve the economy. He's going to bring better-paying jobs. He's going to protect our coal mining jobs, which is very important to Daviess County. And you also have to keep in mind that with the new I-69, Daviess County and Washington, Indiana, are just on the brink of some great future development. We're hoping to bring new industry to our community, and we believe with Donald Trump as our president we can do that."

Demographically, Daviess County looks like a lot of Indiana's more rural counties -- all of which went for Trump. The U.S. Census' latest numbers from 2015 estimate Daviess County residents are roughly 92.4 percent white. The remaining slice of the pie is 4.6 percent Hispanic or Latino, 1.3 percent black and 0.7 percent Asian. The average household income in 2014 was $47,000. Roughly 78 percent of residents have graduated high school. Just less than 13 percent hold a bachelor's degree or higher. About 14 percent of the county's residents fall under the poverty threshold.

Of course, Hicks said, Trump also had an ace up his sleeve: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

"Mike Pence is no stranger to Daviess County. One of his favorite restaurants is the White Steamer Café in downtown Washington, Indiana," Hick said. "It's nice when you have a vice president, someone sitting in the White House right next to the commander-in-chief, who knows who we are. He knows us on a first-name basis."

The combination of a Trump-Pence ticket was apparently alluring for otherwise politically unmotivated Daviess County voters as well. Hicks said the GOP primary brought in 2,000 new voters who'd never cast a ballot in a primary election before.

"They'd never voted in a primary before, and they'd of course never voted in a Republican primary. So, at our Republican headquarters, we called those 2,000 people on the phone, neighbor-to-neighbor, you know, this is the first time you've voted – why did you vote? We brought them down to headquarters. They helped volunteer. There was probably a Trump sign on every corner in Davies County. On every corner."

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