House races in the South among most competitive

The South is expected to host some of the most competitive House races in the country this year, political experts say.

In several of those races, conservative Democrats are defending their seats amid strong regional hostility toward the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress.

“The South will be a premier House battleground in 2010, and already plenty of races are becoming engaged,” said David Wasserman, an analyst for the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan group that tracks congressional races.

National Democrats and Republicans are revving up for dozens of competitive races in the region.

“The South is going to play a pivotal role in deciding who controls the House next year,” said Andy Sere, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “The South is really fertile ground for us.”

Democrats, who control the House, are expected to lose some seats in the region and elsewhere.