Five years ago at the University of Mississippi’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, I was asked to conduct a public interview with Mississippi’s senior U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran during his bid for a sixth term against Democratic challenger and former state legislator Erik Fleming.
During that interview, I asked Sen. Cochran, then 70, how he reached his decision to seek a sixth term. Here’s his answer in its entirety:
“It was a challenging decision. I won’t say it was difficult, but frankly I felt obligated to the state to run. People were asking me what my intentions were, and when I would say that I was considering whether or not to run, people would say ‘my gosh, you’ve got to run!’ I mean almost confrontational at the thought that I might not run.
“And I thought, well, golly, I’ve been there a long time, you know. People (other Mississippi members of Congress) have retired when they were younger than I am and I’d name off a few. People we knew. After I guess a good amount of time went by before I finally decided.