A video of retired Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) standing up for the rights of his town comes to the attention of to Democratic strategist Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell). He decides that if he can get Hastings to run for mayor of his town of Deerlaken, Wisconsin, the Democrats may be able to win back the Heartland and the state of Wisconsin, after their disastrous loss in the presidential election.
Once in Deerlaken, Gary sticks out like a sore thumb, no matter how hard he tries to fit in. However, the townspeople are kind and try to help him fit in. When the Republicans counter by sending in Gary's brilliant but lethal counterpart, Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne), who has an endless amount of tricks up her sleeve, their dirty tactics threaten to disrupt the peaceful and friendly town.