The Death of the Southern Democrat

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Tom Perriello’s loss in Virginia’s 5th District is rightly being heralded as symbolic. But Republican Morgan Griffith’s upset over Rick Boucher in Virginia’s 9th District, which covers a rural swath of the southwestern part of the state, is equally significant. Boucher was part of an endangered species, the conservative Southern Democrat. This group is a relic from another generation, and they’re in peril en masse tonight.

In addition to Boucher, the last conservative Democrat in Texas, the 17th District’s Chet Edwards, went down easily. Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall of Georgia look like they could be unseated, too. Freshman Dem Travis Childers–a pro-gun, antiabortion social conservative–is trailing in Mississippi’s 1st District, despite voting against health-care and TARP, and his colleague from Mississippi’s 4th District, Gene Taylor, is in a nail-biter. Mike McIntyre seems set to hold on against a weak opponent in North Carolina-7,  and Bobby Bright is leading Republican Martha Roby in Alabama’s 2nd District (though he had to sprint away from his party to stay in the race).  On the whole, it’s a very bleak night for a dying breed.