In a refreshing diversion from primary politics, Mississippi has a new Senator to replace the retired Trent Lott. Roger Wicker will ascend from the House to the upper chamber, and will also run for the seat in the special election on November 4th:
Republican Haley Barbour’s choice to succeed Sen. Trent Lott is Rep. Roger Wicker, a conservative congressman, congressional officials with knowledge of the selection process said Monday.
Wicker, 56, will serve until a special election is held, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made. Wicker is expected to be a candidate in the special election, which Barbour has scheduled for Nov. 4.
Wicker had been mentioned as a possible successor since Lott’s resignation this month after serving one year of a six-year term. Lott’s term runs through 2012.
Wicker looks like a safe choice for Barbour. He represents a solidly Republican district that will remain in GOP hands in the 2008 election. Wicker, at 56, is young enough to run for at least three terms in the Senate without tripping the Strom Thurmond/Robert Byrd age wire — but that could have been said for Lott as well, who’s leaving at 66.
As a legislator, Wicker also seems safely Republican. Poole reports for the 109th and 108th Congress put his voting record in the center of the party, comparable to Adam Putnam and Eric Cantor. Unfortunately, Wicker’s record on pork strongly resembles that of his predecessor. The Club for Growth RePork Card gives Wicker an embarrassing 2% rating, meaning he only voted in favor of one pork-reform measure out of 50 in the 110th Congress. We can look forward to more federal funding of Mississippi pet projects with Wicker in place; losing Lott will not improve matters in that respect.
Perhaps Wicker will surprise us and act like a fiscally responsible conservative after taking his new seat in the Senate. If not, then Barbour will have done his party no favors by promoting another porker to higher office in an election where Republicans have a chance to differentiate themselves from the budget-busting antics of the majority.
UPDATE: Rob Bluey reminds us at Redstate that it could have been worse, and he’s right.