Sen. Thad Cochran hasn't made up his mind whether he will run for a seventh term, and apparently won't until perhaps the last minute.
"I don't know why I have this view, but I don't think it's necessary to make a decision before you have to," the Mississippi Republican told the Biloxi Sun Herald
"I don't have to decide today. The filing deadline is a year away. All kinds of things can happen in a year that would affect any decision I would make."
Cochran, who indicated in 2008 that this likely would be his last term in the Senate, told the newspaper "it would be wrong to mislead people" before he decides to stay or go.
However, he said, an announcement would come within the next year and in plenty of time before the June 2014 primary to give potential successors time to prepare should he decide to retire.
Political analysts agree that Cochran will have no re-election trouble if he decides to run. But at 75, he may be leaning more towards retirement, as he hinted in 2008 when he was re-elected to a sixth term. He is the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee and the second-most-senior Republican in the Senate.
If he decides to retire, the race to replace him would be wide open. Potential GOP candidates include Reps. Gregg Harper and Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn.
Possible Democratic candidates include Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
So far, six Democratic and two Republican senators have announced their retirements at the end of the 113th Congress.
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