It has been 1988 since there was an election for an open Senate seat in Mississippi.
It appears obvious that a lot of major politicians are assuming Cochran will not seek another term. And if he does, there most likely will be a great deal of gnashing of teeth — silently — from those politicians hoping to succeed the senator.
The most obvious would-be successor is Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Reeves, 37, has proven to be an aggressive and fearless politician. He ran for and won his first political office — state treasurer — before the age of 30. In his first year as lieutenant governor, political observers have been amazed at the control he has held over the state Senate where he is the presiding officer.
Of course, Reeves might be more interested in impacting state issues and might want to remain in Mississippi government. But if Reeves does want to venture off into national issues, an open Senate seat would give him that opportunity. In 2014, Reeves would be in the next to last year of his first term as lieutenant governor. It would make perfect sense for Reeves to pursue an open U.S. Senate seat.
It would make far less sense for Bryant — in the next to last year of his first term as governor — to pursue that seat.
For years, people speculated that Haley Barbour would be interested in serving in the Senate after finishing his second term as governor. The Yazoo City Republican said time and again he liked being in the executive branch of government and had no interest in being one of 100 senators.
Barbour said upon leaving the governor’s office in January that he had run for his last political office. With the controversy he has faced since leaving office over his pardons of about 200 felons, including those convicted of murder and sex crimes, Barbour is even less likely to want to pursue another elected office.
Plus, Barbour, 64, said he was not a suitable candidate to run for the U.S. Senate because Mississippi has a history of electing relatively young people who can serve in the Senate for decades and build up seniority.
Some viewed the age comments as a slap at Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who has been viewed as a potential candidate should Cochran step aside. Hosemann is about four months older than Barbour, but in fairness to the secretary of state, who is a runner, he is probably in much better health than the former governor who often jokes about his own weight issues.
Auditor Stacey Pickering, 43, is viewed as another potential candidate for an open Senate seat. And, of course, the state’s U.S. representatives, including Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo and Gregg Harper of Rankin County, might consider the post, though, the fact that the state’s other U.S. senator — Roger Wicker — is from Tupelo might make it more difficult for Nunnelee to pursue any open Senate post.
Former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, who has been out of political office since 2008, might be an interesting candidate. Mississippi is one of only two states to have never elected a woman to the U.S. Congress.
What is interesting is that all of the potential candidates I have mentioned are Republicans.
Are there no Democrats who would be viewed as serious challengers?
- TEA Party blames Lt. Governor for failed immigration bill (mississippipep.wordpress.com)