Southern Political Report, 11/30/7

The latest word out of the Magnolia State is that Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is like to pick either US Rep. Chip Pickering (R) or US Rep. Roger Wicker (R) to succeed Minority Whip Trent Lott (R) as the next US Senator from Mississippi. On the Democratic side, the scuttlebutt is that former Attorney General Mike Moore, probably the most electable politico among the state’s beleaguered Democrats, has decided that he will run, setting up what is likely to be a fierce, well-funded competition that is sure to receive national attention.

Whether Barbour will choose Pickering or Wicker is still not known, but the governor is a pragmatic politician. “The only criteria for the appointment is the person who can beat Mike Moore,” says a Jackson insider. In this regard, both Pickering and Wicker have plusses and minuses.