Here's the latest:
1) Attorney General Jim Hood (D) is supposedly being heavily courted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to run for the seat. Hood is enormously popular in Mississippi. He consistently performs well in polls of Republicans, and has twice been re-elected with comfortable margins. To get an idea of just how strong an opponent Hood would be for any Republican, let this fact sink in: Hood got 10,000 more votes than then-Gov. Haley Barbour (R) in their respective 2007 re-election bids.
The question really isn't could Hood win the race against anyone other than Cochran. That's a given. The question is whether or not Hood would be interested in leaving the AG's Office, where he clearly enjoys prosecuting criminals and protecting Mississippi's vulnerable citizens. Time will tell.
2) Former Congressman Travis Childers (D) is taking a long look at getting in the race if Sen. Cochran retires. Childers, a conservative Democrat, fits the mold of successful candidates against Tea Party opponents in red states. The Washington Post ran an article about Childers and this Senate seat yesterday, and it's chock full of info. Simply put, if Childers could win the conservative First District after a divisive GOP primary, he can certainly win statewide under the same scenario.
3) Now for a blockbuster surprise: There's a TON of chatter out there that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) is about to announce he is entering the Senate primary. Now, bear in mind that Cochran has not yet announced whether he is seeking re-election. Cochran's aides and close friends don't even know what Cochran will decide. This is a power play, pure and simple: There's no reason to believe Hosemann has some inside connection to Cochran that would lead Cochran to tip Hosemann off first. Hosemann is trying to force Cochran out. I've confirmed through numerous sources that Hosemann has chosen Bee McNamara, former scheduler for Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R) to head up the staff.