Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Monday, November 26, 2007

BREAKING: Trent Lott to Resign Before the End of 2007

  • Mississippi: This is just breaking within the last hour. Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi will resign before the end of 2007. CNN cites as the reason: "Lott intends to join the private sector." But can't Lott serve out his term and then "join the private sector"? What gives? MSNBC pins it down:

    While the exactly reason Lott is stepping down before he finishes his term is unknown, the general speculation is that a quick departure immunizes Lott against tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. That law would require Senators to wait two-years before entering the lucrative world of lobbying Congress.
    The K Street Gravy Train. Makes sense as reports are saying that there are no health issues, and there are also no new scandals (that we know of). And this must not have been a decision made as of the beginning of 2007, as Trent Lott stepped up to and beat Lamar Alexander for the Republican Whip spot (which dealt a bit of an embarrassment to Alexander). So, as Jerome says, Lott's "gettin while the gettin's still good." The Politico nails down expectations for an appointment and subsequent 2008 Senate race:

    Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), who announced his retirement from the House earlier this year, would be a leading candidate for the Senate seat in the special election. One official said Pickering will run for sure. Another possible GOP contender for the seat would be Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

    On the Democratic side, former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore has been mentioned as a strong statewide candidate in an otherwise heavily Republican state.
    Remember that, only about two weeks ago, Mississippi's other Senator, Republican Thad Cochran, announced that he would run for re-election in 2008, diminishing expectations that popular former state Attorney General Mike Moore would enter the race. Well, this announcement makes for a whole new ballgame. Expect developments and announcements (including something official from Lott himself) in the coming hours and days.


    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Pickering running as an incumbent, not in an open seat, will still be a very tough pick-up opportunity.

    For all the talk of Mike Mooore (both in 2006 and in 2008), I haven't seen anything actually from him. Is he even interested?

    9:11 AM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger pi said...

    I won't miss him. Read this and you won't either:

    9:40 AM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Since the special election will basically start from the moment of the appointment, and since Lott has been a fixture of Mississippi politics for so long, I doubt the appointee will enjoy much "incumbent" affect from the voters. Given that the appointee will (ostensibly) be a candidate for election from the moment of the appointment, this is, for all intents and purposes, an open seat.

    From all sources, Mike Moore is looking for an open seat. Why take a swing against an incumbent like Cochran or Lott when an open seat would arise eventually? Way back in 2002, Mike Moore's approve-disapprove was clocked at an overwhelming 65-18. Given that the guy served four terms as state Attorney General, voters statewide must have a positive affect - his last election was in 1999, where Moore defeated his Republican opponent 64-36, dominating statewide.

    If Moore gets in, it will be a horse race.

    9:49 AM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    "From all sources"? I've heard plenty of sources that say that Moore should run. I haven't actually heard a quote or comment from Moore on the issue.

    9:59 AM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger jak said...

    I haven't encountered a first-hand, primary source either, but Rothenberg reports: "Former state Attorney General Michael Moore (D) reportedly was interested in Senator Thad Cochran’s seat before Cochran announced he would seek reelection."

    2:31 PM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    The Dems are going to have a hell of a time taking this seat. But it's not the point. The point is that the second most important Republican in the Senate is leaving, and the most important is battling for his political life in his homestate. It's the whole thing being shaken up.

    2:48 PM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Anthony - Following up on that point, what happens if Mitch McConnell does get beat in 2008? Now the top two leadership guys are gone and now you have an even smaller minority led by an even emptier suit like Jon Kyl, who is running for Lott's leadership spot.

    3:28 PM, November 26, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    VA, Cilliza's blog has this quote.

    "For Democrats, the Fix has learned that former state Attorney General Mike Moore -- Democrats' dream candidate -- is indeed interested in the contest and is considering a race."

    I find his blog reasonably credible.


    3:48 PM, November 26, 2007  

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