When the 2009 legislative session begins Tuesday, all eyes will be on first-term Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.
While the lieutenant governor – a powerful post under Mississippi’s Constitution – always attracts a considerable amount of attention, Bryant will get more notice than most.
The Rankin County Republican, who is partial to blue jeans and cowboy boots and often refers to himself as a high-tech redneck, will be in the proverbial political catbird’s seat.
Bryant, 54, has a political future with options: He could run for re-election in 2011 as lieutenant governor and be considered a shoo-in, or he could try to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour, who because of term limits cannot run for a third term.
In interviews, Bryant has not ruled out the possibility of running for the state’s highest office, but generally he tries to pour cold water on any public discussion of it.