National pundits may be writing off the South in 2008, but don't tell Southern states that. In a bid to shake off being treated as the neglected stray dogs of presidential politics, state leaders are battling to put the South back on the electoral map.

Case in point: Georgia. Yesterday, the AP reports, Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) signed a bill to move the Peach State's presidential primary up to February 5, 2008. The move comes in the wake of Florida's decision to leapfrog up to January 29 for its primary, the same date as South Carolina. Texas appears close to also joining the February 5 primary club, which now includes 15 states.

Georgia's move not only puts another Southern state on the 2008 map -- it increases the voice of black (and to a lesser extent Asian American and Latino) voters in the primaries: 28% of registered voters in Georgia are African American.