Former Mississippi governor launches PAC for Southern Democrats

August 5, 2013

Former Mississippi governor Ronnie Musgrove is trying to save Southern Democrats.

Musgrove on Monday is announcing the launch of a new political action committee -- the Southern Progress Fund -- aimed at helping Democrats down the ballot in Southern states, where they have been in serious trouble in recent years.

The PAC will focus on state legislative races, local races and downballot statewide offices like attorney general, treasurer, etc.

“Democrats cannot and should not write off an entire region of the country, and we certainly cannot ignore the South, which like other regions of the country has a long history of producing great leaders," Musgrove writes in an op-ed that will accompany the announcement. "If Democrats continue to spend less money in the South than in most other regions of the country, then we will continue to get what we pay for."

Republicans in recent years have dominated state legislative races, giving them a huge amount of control over the redistricting process after the 2010 elections. And that goes double in the South.

Several southern state legislatures, which had long been held by Democrats, have gone Republican in recent years, as elections have become more and more nationalized. Republicans now control every southern state legislative chamber except the Kentucky House of Representatives.

The Southern Progress effort will focus in 2014 on Arkansas and Georgia but may expand to other states.

The PAC will also conduct voter registration and voter protection efforts throughout the South, and Mugrove cited the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down a portion of the Voting Rights Act as part of his motivation.

Musgrove was the Democrats' 2008 nominee for Senate against now-Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Wicker won the race 55-45 percent.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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