7th term up in the air for Cochran as list of possible replacements grows

The nation’s journalists keep bugging U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran about whether he’ll run again in 2014, but Mississippi’s senior senator says he hasn’t made up his mind.

Cochran, 75, wouldn’t have any trouble being re-elected if he decides to run. But there’s already plenty of conversation about who would try to replace him if he decides not to, which has revolved around 11 possible candidates. The senator told the Sun Herald this week he’s still weighing his options, but he wants to have a decision made within one year before the June 2014 primaries. That way, if he decides not to run, possible successors will have plenty of time to get organized.

The senator used to jog, but he doesn’t do that anymore. He still takes walks often and has recovered from hip-replacement surgery a few years back. He said he feels good and doesn’t have any health problems, which along with age, is a major consideration for him.

If Cochran runs, he’ll be an overwhelming favorite to win and could embark on a six-year term ending Jan. 3, 2021. He’d be 83 years old by then. For now, he has no plans other than to serve out his term.

Sun Herald