With Republicans now having little prospect of regaining control in 2008, no doubt Pickering saw little reason to stick around. With five sons aged 8 to 17, Pickering can legitimately say he is retiring to spend “more time with my family.”
Pickering’s departure calls to mind when Mississippi lost a House seat in the 2000 census, skids were greased to make his 3rd district seat safe in the 2002 election. After the Democrat-controlled state Legislature failed to adopt a redistricting plan, a panel of federal judges (appointed by Republican presidents) snatched the re-map process from the state and designed a district pitting Pickering against 4th District Democrat Ronnie Shows.
Because it gave Pickering his solid GOP base and shredded Shows’ Democratic base, a Pickering victory was highly predictable.