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2002: Census could set up political battle between Pickering, Shows

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Dec. 29, 2000
An air of uncertainty hangs over Mississippi's 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts following Thursday's release of Census 2000 results and the news the state would be losing one of its five seats in the U.S. House.
Many experts believe the new population statistics will set up a battle in 2002 between two incumbents U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows. Political observers say such a race would be expensive and hard-fought between Pickering, of Laurel, and Shows, of Bassfield.
The news the state would lose a representative wasn't a surprise to Shows' office in Washington, but the rumored solution was unexpected.
The Democratic-controlled state Legislature has the task for dividing the five districts into four fairly equal areas.
On Thursday, Shows, a Democrat, hinted to the Associated Press there could be a chance the Legislature might pit the state's two Republicans Pickering and U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker against each other.
However, Pickering said such a scenario would be very unlikely, given Wicker's district lies in the northern section of the state and Pickering's reaches from the central to southern regions.
Strider agreed with Pickering that playing the guessing game with the state Legislature was almost impossible.
Although Pickering stopped short of saying he could beat Shows in a race, he implied that the makeup of both districts favored him.
Figures from both candidates' re-election campaigns in November show Pickering could be right. Pickering won 73 percent of the vote in his district, while Shows garnered 58 percent of the vote against GOP candidate Dunn Lampton.
Pickering said, however, there would be time for campaigning and the most important thing for congressional members to concentrate on now was to work together for the state's well being.
Pickering added Mississippi would be able to handle losing a representative better than many other states because it had two of the most influential U.S. senators in the country Trent Lott and Thad Cochran.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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