On Monday, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour will announce his state’s next senator–someone who will replace the suddenly-retired Trent Lott, and who will stand for election in November.
Speculation on who will be appointed to hold the seat in the interim has centered on U.S. Reps. Roger Wicker and Chip Pickering. State Treasurer-elect Tate Reeves has also been mentioned by political experts, among others.
Two theories were in play last week about Barbour’s choices: One, that he will start a young Republican such as Chip Pickering on a path to keep the Senate seat in GOP hands for decades. Or two – an intriguing scheme – that Barbour will name a seat-warmer who would not run for the unexpired term, so that Barbour himself could run and return to the Washington scene he loves.
Early on, Barbour said he would not appoint himself to succeed Lott, but that does not rule out him asking voters in November to elevate him to a higher level.