Mark Twain was widely credited with the saying, “the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

So, too, it appears have been the rumors of Stacey Pickering’s political demise. Over the weekend Geoff Pender at the Clarion Ledger cited Capitol “Room 210” (the lobbyist room) buzz over whether Pickering would stay in the Auditor’s race. “Talk is that Republican Pickering wants to return to the private sector and might even step down early.”

Y’allPolitics has confirmed that Pickering is 100% in for re-election and for being Auditor for another four years and he’s begun putting together his re-election team in earnest. He and his wife Whitney were seen last night working the room at the Madison County GOP President’s Day Gala.

Now that Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler is in the race, it looks like the Republican field will largely be set and the showdown will be between Pickering and Hawkins-Butler. There have been some rumors that State Senator Michael Watson from the Coast would hop into the race if Pickering were to not run, but it would be somewhat of a surprise to see him go into a three way race with the incumbent now committed.

The filing deadline for the 2015 cycle is now less than two weeks away. Whatever other (sacrificial) Democratic challengers to Republican statewide incumbents will probably unmask themselves this week or early next week. Then there is the Jim Hood re-election issue and whether or not he will stay in. The safe bet is that he will run again.

Stay tuned. It’s about to get fun.