Another Republican Senate seat is going to be up for grabs in 2008, and it will mean an unusual double election in the state of Mississippi, due to the plans of Trent Lott (R-MS) to take an early exit from public service at year’s end. His colleague Thad Cochran (R-MS) just recently said he would run for re-election. In Lott’s case, he successfully did that last year, and even was elected minority whip for his party, but according to numerous reports he has simply grown weary of the Washington grind. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) will be able to appoint a successor for 2008, but it is expected that a special election to fill the term will be held with the regular election next November.
One name from the House Commerce Committee has been aired in regards to Lott’s seat. Chip Pickering (R-MS) has widely been seen as an up-and-comer, but he has already announced his intention to retire from the House and it is unknown if he can be tempted by a move up to the Senate. But Mississippi is a reliably Republican state these days, and it remains to be seen if the Democrats can enlist a strong candidate, no matter who the Republicans get to run.
RBR/TVBR observation: Lott’s retirement will deprive Byron Dorgan (D-ND) of one of his consistent across-the-aisle anti-media consolidation allies. More to the point, Dorgan can usually count on moderates like Olympia Snowe (R-ME), but in Lott’s case will be losing arguably the most conservative Republican to accrue significant mileage on the Dorgan frequent co-sponsor list.