Cochran to Reveal Future Plans by End of the Month

Cochran will announce a decision by the end of the month about his political future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will decide whether he will seek re-election by the end of the month, according to a local news station.

Cochran, 73, has publicly waffled about whether he will run for another term. The senator's low fundraising hauls only fueled speculation the six-term Mississippi Republican is eyeing retirement.

Cochran, 73, already has a primary opponent in state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who has the backing of the

in state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who has the backing of the Club for Growth and the

and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

If Cochran decides to retire, local GOP operatives said McDaniel would likely have company in a GOP primary. Republicans have named several potential successors, including Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, state Auditor Stacey E. Pickering, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Rep. Gregg Harper.

And if Cochran decides he will seek a seventh term, Mississippi Republican operatives said GOP groups will work hard to re-elect Cochran. The longtime appropriator has proved adept at bringing necessary federal dollars to the economically struggling state.

So far, seven Senators have announced they will retire at the end of the 113th Congress.

No matter what Cochran decides, Republicans are expected to keep this seat in 2014. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the state with 55 percent in 2012.

Mississippi's Senate race is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.