November 26, 2007
Trent Lott appears to be announcing his retirement. There's some good news for a Monday morning, eh? Wasn't it Trent Lott who had to resign from the Majority Leadership when he praised Strom Thurmond's segregationist views?
Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat by the end of the year, congressional and Bush administration officials said Monday.
Lott, 66, scheduled two news conferences in Pascagoula and Jackson later in the day to reveal his plans. According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, Lott intends to resign effective at the end of the year.
No reason for Lott's resignation was given, but according to a congressional official, there is nothing amiss with Lott's health. The senator has "other opportunities" he plans to pursue, the official said, without elaborating. Lott was re-elected to a fourth Senate term in 2006.
Lott's colleagues elected him as the Senate's Republican whip last year, a redemption for the Mississippian after his ouster five years ago as the party's Senate leader over remarks he made at retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party. Lott had saluted the South Carolina senator with comments later interpreted as support for southern segregationist policies.
After the 2006 elections, when Democrats recaptured the Senate, Lott was put in charge of lining up and counting Republican votes as whip, the No. 2 job behind minority leader Mitch McConnell.
Ah, yes, we here at the TWTE were indeed remembering things correctly.
"NBC News has learned that Trent Lott's in the midst of informing close allies that he plans to resign his Senate seat before the end of the year. It's possible a formal announcement of his plans could take place as early as today."
The US News Political Bulletin has learned that Lott will make the announcement today at noon. According to a knowledgeable source, Lott is resigning by the end of the year to avoid new ethics rules that double the amount of time a retired lawmaker must wait before lobbying former colleagues. The former Senate majority leader had contemplated retiring prior to his last election, and is said to be eager to begin his post-Senate career while he is still relatively young.
Relative is indeed a relative term. Now, as we understand it here, if he resigns in between elections then it's the Governor of his State that gets to appoint his successor.
Mississippi's Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, will appoint Lott's replacement, who will serve until the 2008 elections, when voters will elect someone to serve out the balance of Lott's term, which runs through 2012.
Lott's seat is likely to remain Republican. GOP Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi, a former Lott aide who recently announced his retirement from the House, is widely seen as a potential successor. Aides to Pickering said he would withhold comment until after Lott's news conference.
Ah, only until the next election. Hmm, not sure that I'd bet on that seat remaining Republican you know, not with whoever is appointed only having 10 months or so to establish an incumbency.Here's how the news was reported over the wires.
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