JACKSON, Miss. -- Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat before the end of the year, The Associated Press has learned.
No reason for Lott's resignation plans was given, but according to a congressional official, there is nothing amiss with Lott's health. The senator has "other opportunities" he plans to pursue, the official said, without elaborating.
Lott is no spring chicken at 66, but we have plenty of other Senators (not to mention presidential candidates!) who are older. It's good to hear that there's nothing wrong with his health, but one has to wonder what would prompt the minority WHIP to hang it up with four years left in his term. CNN Headline News is only saying that he plans to "explore opportunities in the private sector" this morning.
My spider senses tell me that it's not part of the Abramhoff mess - if the Dems or Justice investigators had anything on somebody that high up we'd have heard about it long before now. Of course, it's certainly possible that non-medical personal or business considerations prompted this abrupt exit, but doing it with less than one month notice sounds like we might be hearing more on this story. The last thing the Republicans would want to see is one of their senior members getting into some sort of scandal and handing the Democrats even more "culture of corruption" ammunition just as the election cycle is heating up. The GOP is already looking at the possibility of being shoved into a veto-proof minority next November, and Lott would be a high profile target for the Dems to bag.