Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has withdrawn from the leadership race for Senate Republican Conference chair, according to Republican insiders.
The Conference Chair position is being vacated by extremely far-right Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona. He's currently runnning unopposed for the position of Minority Whip.
The current minority whip, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, shocked the political world by stating his intention to resign after managing to be one of the few Republican Senators re-elected in the fall of 2006
There are several thoughts on why Senator Lott might be leaving.
1. Lott wants to avoid the new Democratic lobbying rules that close the revolving door allowing members of Congress to lobby their former colleagues after just one year.
All that's changed since Lott won last year is an ethics rule that slightly infringes -- slightly -- on a lawmaker's ability to make millions off his public service the moment he steps through that revolving door. By resigning before the end of the year, Lott sidesteps the rule, which doubles to two years the waiting period before senators can lobby former colleagues.
2. He's "not gay" just like Senator Craig, but has more shame:
Rumors have been floating around about Lott being involved with gay escort Benjamin Nicholas (Nicholas has issued a not-so-clear denial).
Escort Benjamin Nicholas denies that he ever had a "working relationship" with the anti-gay senator from Mississippi.
I have a third theory.
Remember what lost Senator Lott the position of Majority Leader?
I want to say this about mah state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.
So I think the real issue is that he was misled by the term "Minority Whip." Now that he's found out it doesn't involve whipping minorities, he has no desire to stay in the Senate.