Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr on Republican Short List of Possible Lott Replacements
By Keith Burton - GCN 12/14/07
GulfCoastNews.com has learned from reliable Republican Party sources that Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr is on the short list of those under consideration to be appointed by the governor to replace retiring Trent Lott for the U.S. Senate.
With the pending retirement of Lott later this month, there is a fury of activity among the state's Republican decision makers over who will be the choice selected by Governor Haley Barbour. The governor is to appoint a replacement who will hold the office until a special election is held next year in November.
Lott has has repeatedly remarked, since announcing his retirement, that he would like to see a younger man take over his job as that has been the history of senators elected from the state. The state does have a tradition of electing younger men to the U.S. Senate, who then become powerhouses through longevity in office as a result of the Senate's seniority system.
The short list includes three names: Warr (44), State Treasurer Tate Reeves (33), and U.S. Representative Roger Wicker (56). All are Republicans.
Warr, its would seem, matches the youthful nature Lott mentioned. In 2006, Fortune magazine, in an article about the high insurance costs stemming from Katrina, described Warr as, "...a 43-year-old Republican with the looks and shine of a fresh-out-of-the-box Ken doll."
War's first political foray began when he was elected mayor of Gulfport in June 2005. Before his election he ran his family's men's clothing store, which was established by his father Gene Warr, a former chairman of the Biloxi Planning Commission. The elder Warr has well-established behind-the-scenes experience in Coast politics as a member of the Gulf Coast Business Council, an organization whose previous iteration was called Coast 21, which supported changing the state flag.
Reeves also qualifies on the youth element. At 33, Reeves has the significance of being the youngest Mississippian to be elected to a statewide office when he was elected four years ago. Just last month, he was re-elected to the post.
Wicker's age would seem to eliminate him from consideration, but then, he has considerable and valuable experience in Washington, something that everyone thinks is still needed with Lott's departure.
Sources tell GCN that Warr's supporters are pushing hard for Warr to be selected by the governor.
State Republican insiders tell GCN that former U.S. Congressman Chip Pickering, who has been considered a front-runner, has turned down any appointment to the position.
Lott's resignation letter has not been sent just yet to the governor, though it is expected to be sent soon. As to who Barbour will actually appoint, that remains a mystery, but for political watchers, these are fun times indeed.