STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Congressman Gregg Harper announced he will step aside next year, so we spoke with a political analyst to get his take.
Marty Wiseman used to lead the Stennis Institute for Government at Mississippi State University, which is in Harper's district.
He says he was surprised by the congressman’s announcement.
The announcement was sent in a news release.
The 61-year-old Republican from suburban Jackson says he and his wife thought about stepping away for two years.
“After spending time over Christmas and New Year’s with my family, we made the very difficult decision to say that 10 years will be long enough,” Harper stated.
“Congressman Harper did what a good congressman does,” said Wiseman.
Wiseman said if past fractions within the Republican Party continue, the democrats won’t make it easy for the GOP to keep the seat.
"They've been step by step becoming revitalized,” said Wiseman.
The question isn’t only who will replace Harper, but what will he do next?
“The question mark is…is he taking that route to position himself to run for Senator Cochran’s special seat in 2018,” said Wiseman.
It has been reported that Senator Thad Cochran could step down early this year.
There has also been speculation Harper could be appointed to that job until a special election is held.
The election for Harper’s third district seat will be in November.
The congressman said he will continue to work hard for the final 12 months of his term.