JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour yesterday announced his choice for Trent Lott's replacement in the Senate: Rep. Roger Wicker, a conservative congressman.
Mr. Barbour said it was important to select a person with Mr. Lott's "conservative values" and who would be able to work with Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, also a Republican.
"I am a mainstream conservative in the mold of Trent Lott, Thad Cochran, Haley Barbour, and [U.S. Rep.] Chip Pickering and I believe the vast majority of Mississipians share this philosophy," Mr. Wicker said. "At the same time, I hope my constituents and colleagues view me as a pragmatic problem-solver."
Mr. Wicker will serve until a state-mandated special election is held Nov. 4. He is expected to be a candidate in that race. The winner will serve out the remainder of Mr. Lott's term, which runs through 2012.
Mr. Wicker, 56, had been mentioned as a possible successor since Mr. Lott's resignation earlier in December after serving one year of a six-year term.
Mr. Wicker was elected to the U.S. House in 1994 to succeed the late Rep. Jamie Whitten. He has been re-elected six times in north Mississippi. Mr. Wicker was resigning from the U.S. House.
Mr. Lott served 16 years in the U.S. House before moving to the Senate in 1988. He announced in November that he would resign before the end of the year. He resigned Dec. 19 after Congress wrapped up its work for the year.
Mr. Lott, 66, said he wants to spend more time with his family and pursue other job opportunities, possibly teaching. He ruled out any health concerns, but said it's time for a younger voice to represent Mississippi in the Senate.