State Auditor Stacey Pickering says he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 if Republican Sen. Thad Cochran does not seek re-election.
Cochran has held the seat since 1978 and has said he’ll decide by the end of this month whether to seek another six-year term.
Cochran turns 76 in December. If he seeks another term, Cochran will run with the advantages of incumbency, including name recognition and nearly $804,000 in campaign cash already on hand. If he doesn’t run, the race is expected to attract several candidates.
Pickering, a Republican, was elected state auditor in 2007 and re-elected in 2011.
“If he does retire, it is our full intention to run for the U.S. Senate,” said Pickering, who would not discuss what he might offer voters. “I don’t think we’re at that point yet … to open a campaign. It is very premature.”