This story is part of , CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.
The traditional roll call of states looked a lot different than usual at. Since the outbreak prevented representatives of the 57 states and territories from gathering in person, they filmed individual videos in their home locations. Some were touching, some were inspirational, some were lively. Then there was America’s smallest state, Rhode Island, which got downright fishy.
In the state’s video, filmed on Oakland Beach in Warwick, Rep. Joseph McNamara noted that Rhode Island’s restaurant and fishing industries have been “decimated by this pandemic,” and praised Gov. Gina Raimondo for allowing seafood to be sold directly to the public.
“Our state appetizer, calamari, is available in all 50 states,” McNamara said, as Executive Chef John Bordieri from Iggy’s Boardwalk Restaurant stood next to him, silently holding a giant platter of the fried squid. “The calamari comeback state of Rhode Island casts one vote for Bernie Sanders and 34 votes for the next president Joe Biden!”
Rhode Island was quite possibly the only state that offered up regional eats during its brief appearance, and viewers hungered for more.
“We are casting these votes for Biden, or the platter gets it,” wrote one Twitter user.
For some, it was Chef Bordieri in his black face mask who took center stage.
“Rhode Island showcasing its two biggest exports: calamari (and) rejected Mortal Kombat characters,” wrote one Twitter user.
Maybe it took the tiniest state in the union to start a new political trend. Some on social media noted that they’d like to see more regional pride and specific foodstuffs displayed during future roll calls.
“This is what I was hoping for more of,” wrote one Twitter user. “Old-fashioned state bragging … birthplace of the Slinky, home of the world-famous kazoo museum, and holder of the tap-dancing world record, casts 3 votes for its native son.”
The, with Sen. Kamala Harris, the party’s vice-presidential nominee, scheduled to speak.