PAUL HAMPTON: Why wouldn’t Jim Hood run for re-election?

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves? McDaniel took a swipe at him last week after Reeves dug a deep hole for McDaniel’s election-overhaul bill. But that was just days after Reeves let it slip he has about $2.35 million to carpet bomb with ads any would-be challengers.

I can’t imagine McDaniel running for anything lower, and there’s a good case to be made for why he shouldn’t run at all.

It’s clear McDaniel’s aspirations go way beyond Jackson and next year there could be an interesting congressional race.

It’s no secret McDaniel is wildly popular in the Pine Belt portion of District 4. And U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo’s success has been fueled by the same piney woods.

McDaniel shouldn’t pack the U-Haul, though. Palazzo ran one of the best campaigns of his career to earn the nickname “Landslide” from Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes last time.

Then there’s state Sen. Michael Watson. He’s shed much of the baggage from campaigning for his pal in the U.S. Senate primary. And, he seems at peace with those who backed incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran over McDaniel.