With the first contests unfolding next year in South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire, small-town voters will play a critical role in choosing the next Democratic nominee.,Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders lamented rural decline during an Iowa swing this weekend.,Several candidates plan to attend a March 30 rural issues forum at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa — population 10,600.,AP VoteCast, a national survey of more than 115,000 voters, found rural and small-town residents cast 35 percent of midterm ballots; 56 percent of those voted for Republican House candidates, compared to 41 percent for Democrats.,Sanders noted that many Vermonters, as in the rest of rural America, view guns differently than most big-city residents, but Clinton successfully used the issue against Sanders, particularly with black women.

Earlier that month, San Francisco Mayor Elmer E. Robinson had lost a bet to Chicago Mayor Martin H. Kennelly, after wagering that Cal would defeat Northwestern in that year’s Rose Bowl.,A week before the first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship Game in 1967 (known later as Super Bowl I), Donald A. Tilleman, the mayor of Green Bay, Wis., sent a telegram to his counterpart in Kansas City, Mo., betting him a block of Wisconsin cheese that the Packers would win, and proposing that prime steaks would make for a good prize.,After the Packers lost in the NFC championship game to the Giants, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg received a special delivery that contained 10 pounds of cheese spread, 20 aged strip steaks and three pounds of chocolate — plus a pair of cheese-wedge sunglasses for good measure.,Thus began the era of mayors wearing rival teams' jerseys, flying the winner’s flag above city hall or singing the national anthem at their next game.,In April 1997, more than two months after the Packers defeated the Patriots in that year’s Super Bowl, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that Mayor Paul Jadin still hadn’t collected the winnings from his bet with the mayor of Providence, R.I., Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr., who would later be sent to federal prison on racketeering charges.