Saturday, 21 December 2002

LottWatch Day 15: Retiring the Lottroversy

As Trent Lott's days as majority leader draw to a close, Memphis Commercial Appeal Jackson correspondent Reed Branson looks at the potential reprecussions of his demotion on his home state; it's likely to be a boon for GOP candidates in Mississippi's 2003 elections.

On a practical level, perhaps the immediate effects will be in the realm of transportation: plans for a third Mississippi River crossing near Memphis and Interstate 69 that might have originally favored Mississippi will probably now favor Tennessee, assuming Bill Frist secures the majority leader slot. However, senior senator Thad Cochran is still slated to head the Agriculture Committee and Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Tupelo) has increased his seniority in the House Appropriations Committee, so the long-term prospects for Mississippi are somewhat less diminished than one might think, particularly if Lott receives a “soft landing” in a favorable Senate committee like Appropriations or Transportation.