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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | December 19, 2002

Chafee, Fitzgerald oppose Lott

Fitzgerald finally realized he lives in a Blue State and backed off his original support for Lott. Fitzgerald joins Chafee as the latest GOPer senators to abandon Lott.

Chafee is particularly interesting -- if Lott survives, you know Chafee will be in the doghouse. Chances for a switch seem to have increased somewhat. If Lott goes, then Chafee will probably have a chit or two to cash in from the incoming majority leader.

On the other hand, Cochran says he will vote for Lott. The two are supposed to be rivals, so this is interesting...

The article also notes that Lott believes he has the votes to survive, and states that 10 GOPer senators have publicly voiced their support. That would mean 11 of the 26 votes he needs to survive. It looks like he has a long way to go.

Oh, and Lott says he won't resign from the Senate:

GOP officials are concerned that removing Lott from his leadership position might prompt his resignation from the Senate, which would throw the Senate back into a 50-50 split if Mississippi's Democratic governor picks a Democrat to replace Lott.

But after Wednesday's breakfast, Lott said he would not resign from the Senate. "I have a six-year contract with the people of Mississippi," he said. "I've served two years of it. I'm going to fulfill my contract."

Still, I haven't heard Lott say: "If I'm ousted as leader, I will still serve out my term". There's a HUGE difference between that, and saying "I've got the votes to remain majority leader, and I'll serve out my term."

Update: "PJ" in the comments points me to this NRO piece that suggests Lott is gaining momentum:

The names of several of those supporters have been reported in the last few hours. Among the Republicans said to be in Lott's corner are Sens. Campbell, Crapo, Craig, DeWine, Ensign, Gregg, Hatch, Lugar, McConnell, Santorum, Shelby, Specter, Stevens, and Voinovich.

Today, others have lined up behind Lott. Lott's fellow Mississippian, Thad Cochran, made a statement of support a significant move, considering that Cochran once challenged Lott for the Republican leadership post. "I think the uproar over what he said at the party has gone far beyond a reasonable response," Cochran told the Biloxi Sun-Herald. Also, Elizabeth Dole, the newly elected senator from North Carolina, appears to have decided to support Lott. "Senator Lott called his remarks 'terrible and insensitive,'" Dole told the High Point Enterprise. "I am pleased he has apologized, and I believe he was sincere in his regrets. If I thought for one second that Trent Lott was endorsing segregation, then he should resign, but I don't believe that he was."

By my count, that is 17 senators that have publicly backed Lott. That's assuming, of course, that they're telling the truth. It's easy to lie when asked by Lott point-blank -- easier to vote against him in a secret ballot (assuming the ballot is, indeed, secret).

Not to mention the linked article is by Byron York, the same genius who brought us the now-fully discredited cover piece on voter fraud in SD. (A story driven home by Josh Marshall.)

Posted December 19, 2002 03:53 PM | Comments (42)


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