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Southern Democrats urge a return to party basics

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By BILL BARROW
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Southern Democrats are joining others in the party who say returning to policies that emphasize lifting people out of economic hardship and spending on education and public works will re-energize black voters and attract whites as well.

The Democratic Party chairman in Mississippi, Rickey Cole, says it's time for Democrats to draw a line in the sand and not surrender their brand.

Cole and other Southern Democrats see merit in pushing stronger voting rights laws, tighter bank regulation, labor-friendly policies such as a higher minimum wage and other familiar party themes.

Democratic politics have become a tough sell in the conservative South. A major challenge is finding candidates who can win high-profile races with Republicans dominating the leadership in state legislatures and across statewide offices.

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