Around the South for February 7th: GA, VA, & SC

Georgia: Abrams praised for SOTU response.  Stacey Abrams may have fallen short in her bid to win the Georgia governorship in 2018, but she remains a rising star in the Democratic Party.  Her nationally televised response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday was met with generally favorable reviews, mixing in personal anecdotes with a more general Dem platform, and avoiding the gaffes that have plagued many previous responders.  Allies are hoping to push her to run against Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) in 2020.    Virginia: State leaders plagued by scandal.  Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and AG Mark R. Herring, all Democrats, have found themselves embroiled in potentially career-ending scandal.  Northam and Herring were found to have dressed in blackface in college during parties, while Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault.  While many have called for Northam to resign now state Dems are in a tight spot – if all three are forced to step down the governorship would go over to a Republican, House Speaker Kirk Cox.  South Carolina: Presidential hopefuls gear up.  Democratic candidates for president in 2020 are gearing up their campaigns in South Carolina, an important early battleground state.  Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cory Booker, among others, are jostling to hire key political operatives in the state, knowing that a win would show the ability to galvanize the black and southern vote which would give them a leg up in a very crowded primary field.