While several senators have already announced retirement plans ahead of the 2014 cycle, Sen. Thad Cochran said he's putting off his decision until "the end of the year or the beginning of the next year."
"I haven't decided yet — too early," said the affable Mississippi Republican Wednesday. "I'm deferring making a decision until later in the term."
Cochran's measured approach may not be welcome news to ambitious Mississippi Republicans, who have waited decades to run for his seat in this solidly GOP state. Cochran was elected to the Senate in 1978, the first Republican elected to the Senate from Mississippi since reconstruction.
Since then, Cochran has had no difficult re-election contests and he has spent his career bringing much-needed federal funds to his state. He now serves as the ranking member on the Agriculture Committee after being term-limited out as his party's leader on Appropriations.
Reminded that some other longtime colleagues up for re-election next year, including Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, have already announced plans to retire, Cochran chuckled.
"They're bailing out on me. If I decide to run, it'll make me look conspicuous, won't it?" Cochran joked. "I don't have to decide yet. I will later, toward the end of the year or the beginning of the next year."