Lott also bucked his own Mississippi congressional colleagues by supporting Greg Davis, the Southaven mayor and former state legislator who lost to Democrat Travis Childers. The rest of the delegation backed former Tupelo mayor and former Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Chairman Glenn McCullough Jr.
The senior statesman’s decision to go against his delegation contributed to a bruising, hard-fought primary runoff that left Mississippi GOP voters divided — and, quite possibly, left the stronger general-election candidate on the sidelines.
“That race was more about an intra-state fight between Trent Lott and McCullough then anything,” said Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.). “And McCullough was the better candidate.
Lott’s support gave Davis the edge even though he was weaker against Childers.
“The party loses when people are vengeful,” Wamp added.
Lott helped get McCullough appointed to the TVA but the two later had a falling-out, according to local reports. Details of the dispute are unclear. The Hattiesburg American reported only that McCullough “refused to endorse a Lott-backed TVA initiative that McCullough found to be dubious.”
No matter how the dispute started, it continued with Lott supporting Davis, even though the district was always considered a Tupelo seat and McCullough, the city’s former mayor, would have attracted more of those votes than Davis would have.