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From: NewsMax.com
To: "NewsMax.com News Alert"
Subject: Lott Threatened: Stay in Senate or Else
Date sent: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 06:12:18 -08001.


Sen. Trent Lott's decision to stay in the Senate as "one of the troops" after relinquishing his majority leader post may have been prompted in part by the concern of Republican Party operatives and influential GOP supporters that the Senate could end up under Democrat rule.

NewsMax hears from Washington sources that the Mississippi senator reportedly was told in no uncertain terms that if he were to resign entirely from the Senate and that resignation led to a Democrat takeover, many doors would effectively be closed to him in private life.

That possibility was envisioned as the firestorm mounted over Lott's remarks two weeks ago. If Lott's Senate seat were to be vacated, Mississippi's Democrat Governor Ronnie Musgrove would likely have replaced him with a Democrat.

Some had even begun speculating on potential replacements, including former Agriculture Secretary and one-time congressman Mike Espy - even though he was tainted by scandal during the Clinton regime. That would leave the Senate evenly split between the parties.

If Rhode Island's liberal GOP Senator Lincoln Chaffee were then to switch parties, that scenario would put the Democrats back in the Senate driver's seat, much as happened last year when Vermont's Jim Jeffords made the switch from Republican to Independent, while voting with the Democrats.

NewsMax Washington correspondent Wes Vernon cites well-sourced information that movers and shakers in the GOP told Lott that if he resigns from the Senate in an act of petulance over losing his leadership post, he can forget about offers of cushy corporate jobs in private life.

Usually, a former United States senator can write his own ticket after he leaves. Some were determined to deny that option to Trent Lott if his departure resulted in a Democrat Senate.