Lott gettin while the gettin's still good
by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 03:05:40 AM EST
What a symbol of failure. Trent Lott will abandon his Senate seat before the end of the year, in order to avoid the new lobbying restrictions that require Senators to wait two-years before selling out the publics interests.
Instead, Lott will be able to jump right into the money during the last giveaway year of the Bush reign. Haley Barbour will appoint U.S. Representative Chip Pickering to Lott's seat.
Update [2007-11-26 9:39:36 by Todd Beeton]:A bit more about how Lott will be replaced. From The AP
Mississippi's Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, will appoint Lott's replacement, who will serve until the 2008 elections, when voters will elect someone to serve out the balance of Lott's term, which runs through 2012.
As for whether or not it will be Pickering, it appears to be as yet unclear.
Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi, a former Lott aide who recently announced his retirement from the House, is widely seen as a potential successor. Pickering could not immediately be reached for comment.
A big question is whether Pickering would even want it. Back in August when Pickering announced he'd be leaving the House, it appeared he might have the same designs as Lott now does. From First Read:
The Cook team is getting conflicting signals over whether Pickering is resigning or whether he won't be seeking another term (however, with Pickering heading to work on K Street, he might want to leave Congress before the lobbying/ethics reform legislation is signed into law). But one thing is clear: Another GOP-held House seat is being vacated.
No matter who is appointed to the senate seat in the interim, it will mean two senate seats up in 2008. Now that Thad Cochran has announced he will run in 2008, the race to replace Lott may be the Democrats' best bet and as Jonathan noted back in October, winning in Mississippi is not as much of an uphill battle as it would seem at first glance.
Looking at the general partisan demographics of the state, George W. Bush carried Mississippi with about 60 percent of the vote in 2004. However in 2006 the Democrats managed to receive 46.1 percent of the two-party House vote in the state -- even though they only fielded candidates in three of the state's four districts. Yes, that's right. Democrats managed to come close to securing 50 percent of the statewide vote while only running in 75 percent of the state's districts, quite a feat indeed. What's more, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Democrats still hold a 74-seat to 47-seat majority in the state House and narrowly trail in the state Senate 27 seats to 25.
It's not only these underlying numbers that suggest the Democrats would be able to play in an open-seat Senate race in Mississippi. Former state Attorney General Mike Moore, who as recently as 2002 sported a 65 percent favorable rating in the state, is often mentioned as a possible Senate candidate, as is former Governor Ronnie Musgrove. Moore, in particular, would be difficult to beat.
While running for an open seat would of course be preferable to running against an incumbent, even an interim one, if Mike Moore is going to make a run for the senate, I suspect this will be the seat he chooses to run for.