The Clarion-Ledger, 12/17/7

With the qualifying deadline still three weeks away, the state Republican Party is making it clear it aims to retain the seat that U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering will vacate in 2008.

Campaign Web sites for all four Republican contenders seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat are up and ready to browse, and each candidate has held an announcement event. Several already are sending supporters regular e-mail updates, and one has launched two commercials.

Meanwhile, Democrats have been mostly mum about possible candidates, though one has qualified to run. Many expect the pace to pick up after the holidays.