Senate Republicans Really Want to Remain the Minority Party
Close associates of Sen. Thad Cochran, top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, are cautiously optimistic that in 2008 at age 70 he will run for a sixth term for a Mississippi seat that otherwise might be in jeopardy for the GOP.Hopefully, Cochran will see that the GOP is remarkably unlikely to regain the Senate majority for at least the next six years, if not longer, and opt for retirement, opening up the race to former AG Mike Moore.
Cochran is less than certain to run because he lost his Appropriations chairmanship in the recent elections. His decision may be based on his evaluation of chances to regain a GOP majority within the next six years. Mississippi Republicans had worried about losing the state's other Senate seat before Sen. Trent Lott decided to seek another term in 2006. Former state Attorney General Mike Moore, the probable Democrat Senate candidate, is better known than Rep. Chip Pickering, the leading Republican prospect, if there is an open seat.
UPDATE (2:20pm): Novak adds a footnote:
A footnote: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, an overwhelming favorite for re-election in 2007, has ruled out a Senate bid even if Cochran retires. Becoming a senator was a youthful ambition of Barbour, who was the Republican Senate nominee in 1982 at age 35.Serves to reaffirm Rep. Pickering as the likely GOP nominee if Cochran retires.