At the height of the holidays, Gov. Haley Barbour merrily trampled years of precedents and legal stops to hand the Mississippi Republican Party a shiny Christmas gift labeled “U.S. Senate Seat for Life.”
U.S. Sen. Trent Lott on Nov. 29 put the Senate bauble up for grabs with an announcement he would resign by year’s end, leaving five years of his term.
No public outrage resulted over Lott forfeiting 19 years of seniority, only a year after Mississippians gave him a fourth term. No problem of age – he’s only 66 – or health. The only doubt was which high-paying lobby firm he’ll now join.
Now the clock is ticking on the 10-days Barbour has to fill the vacancy. That he has the power to appoint who would occupy the Senate seat until a special election is not disputed, but when the election will occur is another question.