Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who Will Be Our New Senator?

Once Senator Trent Lott officially resigns, the Governor will appoint someone to fill Lott's seat. That appointee will then have the advantage of incumbency when they have to be elected in the special election, which will be in March or November, depending on the outcome of lawsuits. There are lots of rumors about who that might be. At first, everyone assumed it would be our Congressman Chip Pickering. However, his star seems to be fading, probably because he is not beholden to Haley. Another strong possibility is Congressman Roger Wicker from north Mississippi. There are many others mentioned.

However, there is one possibility I've heard about that seems brilliant - and Haley is certainly that. Mike Espy. He was the Democratic Congressman from the Delta area from 1986 to 1992, when he was appointed Agriculture Secretary by President Clinton, becoming the first African American to serve in that capacity. He only served for two years. He had to resign because he was being investigated for bribery and other charges. When he finally went to trial, he was acquitted of all charges.

So why would Haley appoint a Democrat? He wouldn't, of course. Espy would have to change parties and become a Republican. What makes me think he might? Because Espy infuriated the Democratic party last month by endorsing Haley for Governor. Plus, they're both from Yazoo City.

So why would this be a brilliant move for Haley?
  1. Espy, if ultimately elected, would be indebted to Haley big time - and that's important to Haley.
  2. Espy would undoubtedly enjoy significant support from African Americans, which would probably keep a Democrat from being elected.
  3. Think of the national implications. Mississippi has its first black Senator since Reconstruction - and he's a Republican! He would also be the first black Republican Senator since Edward Brooke of (liberal) Massachusetts in 1978. And Haley could take credit for it.

The only problem is that some Republicans might revolt. Espy has a somewhat liberal background which would turn off conservatives - and of course the white racists (of which there are quite a few in Mississippi) would have a cow. However, Haley has the stature to bring any reluctant Republicans on board if he puts his mind to it.

I, of course, hope Haley doesn't do this. Why? Because I'm a charter member of the We Want Mike Moore club.

Cross posted at Cottonmouth Blog.

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