COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Democratic Party's top recruits for the 2014 elections want to sell themselves as problem solvers who are above the partisan gridlock in Washington.
It's the closest thing the party has to a unified strategy in the region beyond waiting for demographic gains to help Democrats.
So candidates for governor in South Carolina and Arkansas and Senate candidates in Kentucky and Georgia still distance themselves from President Barack Obama and national Democrats who remain unpopular among most white Southerners.
But the candidates also criticize the nasty environment on Capitol Hill, and they're framing Republicans as ideological barriers to practical solutions.
A spokesman at the Democratic Governors Association says the party pushes candidates who understand bread-and-butter issues on the ground. Republicans, he says, look for ideological purists.