Rothenberg – In the Delta, Everyone’s Buzzing about Barbour

GREENVILLE, Miss. — Politically interested folks in the Mississippi Delta spent the last few days of May wondering about whether Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln will survive today’s Democratic runoff against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and whether Democratic Rep. Travis Childers of Mississippi’s 1st district can win in a Republican wave in November.

With Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, Lincoln and Childers are regarded by many in this region (even Republicans) as crucial advocates for Southern agriculture.

But more than anything else, political junkies throughout the Magnolia State seemed intrigued by the future of their own governor, Republican Haley Barbour.

“What’s Haley going to do?” they ask at the drop of a political hat, clearly ready to chip in with their own comments about the governor’s political future.

Barbour, first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007, is finishing his second term. Since he is precluded from running again, political junkies in the state have already started to handicap next year’s election to replace him.

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This column first appeared in Roll Call and on June 8, 2010.