By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Booneville says he will discuss with his family during the Christmas holiday season the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate next year.
Childers, a Democrat, had indicated he was more interested in running if Thad Cochran, the Republican incumbent senator, did not seek a seventh term.
Earlier this month, Cochran confirmed that he would run again. He is being challenged in the June Republican primary by state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, who has the backing of many national Tea Party-affiliated groups.
“As I said before, I would be less apt to run if Senator Cochran runs,” Childers told the Daily Journal. “However, I just have not made a decision.”
Childers said he plans to discuss a possible race with his family during the holidays “because it affects your whole family. But I still think there is room in the middle for a commonsense Mississippian who wants what is best for Mississippi over politics.
“…Nobody worked harder to reach across the aisle than I did. One of the candidates running has made it clear he is not willing to reach across the aisle.”
Childers won a special election to represent the 1st District in the U.S. House in 2008, won a regular election later that year and lost in 2010 to then-state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, a Republican.
Childers was one of at least three Northeast Mississippi Democrats viewed as potential candidates – especially if Cochran did not run. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Nettleton Democrat, confirmed early on after Cochran’s Dec. 6 re-election announcement that he would not run and was focused on his duties regulating public utilities.
Attorney General Jim Hood, Mississippi’s only statewide elected Democrat, has never indicated he was interested in the post, but was viewed by many as his party’s best chance of picking up the seat. With Cochran seeking re-election, he said he is not interested in running.
Hood said recently, “If Senator Cochran is running, more power to him … I am just interested in people serving who are willing to govern. I just want somebody who can be reasonable.”
Most political observers believe the Democrats will field a candidate just in case Cochran is upset in the June 3 GOP primary.
Cochran has not faced a serious challenger since 1984, and he enters the race as the favorite for re-election. But recent polls suggest he could face a serious challenge from McDainel.
McDaniel has maintained that Cochran is part of the Washington establishment and has not fought hard enough to maintain conservative principles.
March 1 is the deadline to qualify for the Senate seat. Other Democrats being mentioned include former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and state Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis.