Democrats smell opportunity in the South after Virginia rout

POLITICO – GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI

National Democrats are seeing glimmers of electoral hope flickering across the deep-red South for the first time in years.

Fresh off sweeping victories in Virginia, and eyeing a possible historic upset in Alabama, the party is looking ahead to a political environment next year defined by both energized liberal base voters and discouraged conservatives. That, combined with an intraparty GOP war, has liberal leaders taking a new look at Senate, gubernatorial and House races in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi, in addition to next month’s contest in Alabama.

One or two upsets in the South next year could be the difference in which party controls the Senate after next year’s midterms.

The new, long-shot interest is partially borne of necessity: forced to defend incumbents everywhere else, the South provides some of Democrats’ only takeover targets. But whether by necessity or choice, the attention to a region long thought of as too forbidding to bother with is long overdue, some prominent Democrats say.

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