Moore Shocks Crowd

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Attorney General Mike Moore called a noon news conference Tuesday to discuss his plans, and shocked reporters and lawmakers by announcing he will not seek reelection as the state's top legal officer or run for Mississippi governor.

Lawmakers close to Moore had said they expected him to run for a fifth term as the state's attorney general.

Moore said that after much thought he has decided it's time for a break from elected office.

Moore has a reputation as a skilled attorney and savvy politician. He gained national recognition for his aggressive stand against the nation's tobacco companies.

Moore became the state's youngest district attorney on the Gulf Coast in 1979, at age 27. He distinguished himself in that position by going after corrupt officials. His successes made statewide headlines.

As attorney general, Moore filed the first lawsuit against "Big Tobacco" in 1994 to recover tax money spent treating smoking-related illnesses. He also was at key player in 1997 negotiations seeking a national settlement.

Had Moore entered the gubernatorial race, he probably would've faced incumbent Ronnie Musgrove in the Democratic primary. Musgrove has been expected to seek a second term but has not officially announced his plans.