Wicker promoted; opponent recruited


Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has reached into the state’s US Congressional delegation to replace the now-retired Trent Lott (R-MS) in the US Senate. He has named Roger Wicker (R-MS) to the seat, which will be subject to a vote from citizens of the state at some point this year.

Barbour has indicated that he’d like to hold a special election to finish the four years left on Lott’s term on 11/4/08. Democrats, however, have challenged that in court, saying the election needs to be held within 90 days of Barbour’s announcement, placing it sometime in the spring.

Democrats also have a high profile candidate lined up to challenge Wicker, and achievement in a state where high profile Democrats are few and far between. Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D-MS) has agreed to make a run for it.

Other Democrats may be considering a run, and they won’t necessarily have to challenge Wicker. The state’s other member of the Senate, Thad Cochran (R-MS) is naturally up for re-election this year.

RBR/TVBR observation: Lott was a somewhat surprising close ally of Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in his continuing campaign against media ownership consolidation. Although a number of Republicans have crossed the aisle to side with Dorgan on one specific or another, Lott was one of the most conservative to do so. So whether or not Musgrove can capture the seat, it figures to diminish Dorgan’s across-aisle posse by one.