This is where you can read our posts, listed chronologically. We hope you find them thought-provoking, informative and/or in some other way worthwhile reading.
In 1978, a young college professor — after two failed tries against an incumbent — capitalized on an open seat to win election to the House of Representatives in Georgia’s 6th District.
Suddenly, Georgia had a historical rarity — a Republican congressman. The 6th District, which at the time stretched from the Atlanta suburbs all the way to the Alabama line, never had had a Republican representative.
After his election, Newt Gingrich was the only Republican in the House or Senate delegation in a state still thoroughly dominated by Democrats. The state to that point had elected only three Republicans to the House since Reconstruction.
The story was similar throughout most of the South, but the region was on the cusp of dramatic political change, and it would begin in the suburbs.
Four decades later, Democrats are making inroads in the South in those same suburbs where they first started to lose their grip on the region.
Consider Georgia. The future speaker of the House paved the way for a slow-but-sure Republican takeover that eventually led the GOP to take control of both houses of the state legislature, the governorship and every U.S. House seat except for four in majority-black districts.
But the growth of the Atlanta metropolitan area and the increasing weakness of Republicans in the suburbs have given Democrats an opening not unlike the one Gingrich seized. Democrat Lucy McBath knocked out Republican Rep. Karen Handel to win Gingrich’s old district. And Republican Rob Woodall barely hung on in the neighboring 7th District.
The same year Gingrich won election to Congress for the first time, the GOP made some dents in the South. In Texas, Republican Ron Paul defeated an incumbent Democrat in the 22nd District, which ran from the Houston suburbs to the Gulf Coast. And Republican Tom Loeffler defeated a Democratic incumbent in the 21st District, which including the San Antonio suburbs and a chunk of rural West Texas.
Paul and Loeffler doubled the Republican House delegation — to four.
The prior year, Bob Livingston won a special election in Louisiana’s 1st District in the New Orleans suburbs to finish the term of a Democrat who been convicted of buying votes.
There are plenty of signs that those suburbs now are swinging the other way. The gains Democrats made in Georgia were not limited to the Peach State.
Other suburban districts in Southern and border states went Democratic this year or nearly did. Oklahoma Republican Rep. Steve Russell, whom virtually no analyst considered vulnerable, lost his 5th District seat based in Oklahoma County.
Kendra Horn will be the state’s only Democratic U.S. representative. It has been in Republican hands since Democrat John Jarman switched parties in 1975. At the time, he was the only Republican in the delegation.
In 1978, Republican Larry Hopkins won the 6th District in Kentucky, which included a big chunk of the Lexington suburbs. This month, Republican incumbent Andy Barr beat back a too-close-for-comfort challenge from Democrat Amy McGrath.
Democrats also won a pair of House districts in Texas, both of which are centered in the suburbs. Democrat Collin Allred defeated incumbent Republican Pete Sessions in the 32nd District outside of Dallas, and Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher beat incumbent Republican John Culberson in the 7th District outside of Houston.
And in Virginia, Democrat Jennifer Wexton beat incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock to end the GOP’s presence in the Northern Virginia suburbs.
Meanwhile, Democrat Abigail Spanberger defeated Republican incumbent Dave Brat in the 7th District, which is dominated by the Richmond suburbs.
It remains to be seen if Democrats can build on their newfound success in Southern suburbs and reclaim formerly blue districts outside of metro areas. But Georgia offers an indication that Democrats can compete statewide in places where the urban-suburban share of the population is big enough.
Democrat Stacey Abrams came within 1.5 percentage points of Republican Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor’s race despite carrying just 29 of 159 counties.