Rep. Pickering not seeking re-election

In a surprise move, six-term Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., announced today he will not seek re-election in 2008.

Pickering said he wanted to devote more time to his family in Flora. He serves on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and is assistant minority whip.

He was first elected to the congressional seat in 1996 and has easily won re-election since. The district stretches like a sash across the state’s mid-section from Wilkinson County to Noxubee County.

His most serious challenge came in 2002 when Pickering defeated Democrat Ronnie Shows.

Clarion Ledger