Approps members scramble as Cochran mulls retirement

Republicans in Mississippi say the fundraising numbers don’t indicate that he will retire, because the senator would likely cruise to reelection, as he did in 2002 when he won with 85 percent of the vote.

Jim Herring, chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, said the party has not lined up potential GOP successors to Cochran because he expects Cochran to run for reelection.

But two sources in Washington, who are close to Cochran and declined to be named, say the senator may be leaning towards retirement because he has grown weary of the ongoing partisan battles on Capitol Hill.

Cochran would not say what is factoring into his decision-making and whether he is leaning towards retirement.

Rebecca Fisher, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Cochran “deserves the time to make the decision that he feels is right for his family and his constituents, and we respect that.”

Terry Cassreino, the communications director for the Mississippi Democratic Party, said: “If this job comes open, I think you’ll see a lot of really strong Democrats considering a run.” Former state Attorney General Mike Moore and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove have been floated as potential Democrats who may jump into the race if Cochran retires.

Cassreino said gains by Democrats next week in the state legislature could buoy potential Cochran successors in the state that President Bush carried with 60 percent of the vote in 2004.

The Hill
10/31/7