Yesterday, Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell (R-Richland) announced he would not seek a fifth term. With that, the speculation now begins on who will run to replace him. Rumors already center on Senator Perry Lee, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Representative Danny Reed.
While it may seem premature to start campaigning for a position over a year before the 2011 general election, many statewide candidates make up their mind to run, form campaign organizations and start raising money years ahead of time. While any open seat in a political office is bound to bring a spirited race, I doubt the race for Mississippi's Ag chief won't be quite as intense (or entertaining) as the 2010 race for Alabama's Agriculture Commissioner. Of course, I reference Republican Dale Peterson's viral YouTube commercial, which launched his campaign into national headlines. Of course, national headlines won't win a local race for you, and Peterson came in a distant third during the 2010 Republican primary.
Either way, jockeying for next year's Ag race will pick up momentum for the remainder of this year.