Mabus, Taylor And the Rumor Mill
One of the not-too-secret rumors floating around is that former governor and current Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is in the running of candidates who may replace Robert Gates when as leaves his post as secretary of defense. Mabus has received good marks for his current job, but other contenders would likely include D.C. heavyweights such as former CIA Director Leon Panetta, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
I have heard Mabus had a meeting at the White House today with President Obama and Gates. We shall see.
But that isn’t the only Mabus rumor. Is a return to elected politics potentially in the cards? Suppose he doesn’t get the secretary of defense position or Obama is polling poorly a year from now and re-election hopes look dim- does he make a run for the Senate against Roger Wicker? I’ve heard talk of that, although you would imagine that would be plan B for Mabus.
As I said, Mabus has received nothing put positive feedback in his current job and there has been some image rehab for the former governor who lost to Kirk Fordice in 1991. But, before getting the job with the Navy, Mabus was one of the strongest backers of Obama in the state. It would be fairly easy for Wicker to tie the two together (like this, for example). Then there is the letter D that will be next to his name on the ballot.
But if Mabus does move up, move on, or move out, who would replace him as Navy Secretary? Apparently, former Rep. Gene Taylor wants it. He told the Sun Herald that is the only political position he would consider in the future. (Taylor has recently taken a job with a private company based out of New Orleans). If this is a possibility and I am Steven Palazzo- I become Taylor’s biggest cheerleader.
Rep. Palazzo has stumbled out of the gates in his first few months in D.C. and while Taylor says he’s not interested in his old job, you would have to think interest may rise if Palazzo appears vulnerable in a year. Having Taylor occupied with the Navy wouldn’t be the worst thing for the freshman Congressman.
As for other challengers to Palazzo, I imagine names like state Sen. David Baria and state Rep. Brandon Jones will come up. Of course, a lot may happen between now and November, 2012 for those two (and any legislator). Do Jones and Baria have to run twice? Do they win re-election this fall? If they do need to run twice, it would be near impossible to make a Congressional run at the same time so they would have to choose.
And for the DCCC, MS-04 has not been put on any of their early target lists of seats they are looking to win in their quest to win back the majority in 2012.