One of the prominent Republican names mentioned as a possible candidate if Trent Lott does not run again for U.S. Senate is Third District Congressman Chip Pickering.
Newscenter 11 asked Pickering whether he's interested in even considering it.
"I hope and believe Sen. Lott is going to run again for re-election. We need his leadership and his experience for the state and for the Senate, for the country," said Pickering.
Pickering was an aide to Lott before running for political office for the first time in 1996. Pickering said Lott has more to do.
"I believe he has another chapter to write as far as his legacy and his record of rebuilding and restoring the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as trying to guide the Senate in a good way during a very tough time as we try to finish what we started in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Pickering. "And as we go into a very tough election year."
When pressed further, Pickering was more firm about not making a commitment.
"I really wouldn't even answer that question until he makes his decision and determination," Pickering said. "And at that point, my family and I would make our decision and decide what's best for us to do."
The names of several well-known Democrats have been thrown in the mix. State Rep. Erik Fleming of Jackson has already said he'll run, regardless of what Lott does. Former attorney general Mike Moore is mentioned, along with fellow Democrat, Cong. Gene Taylor of the fourth district. Candidates will have to file their qualifying papers no later than Mar. 1.