Chip Pickering

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Chip Pickering
Chip Pickering, official 109th Congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Sonny Montgomery
Succeeded by Gregg Harper
Personal details
Born Charles Willis Pickering, Jr.
(1963-08-10) August 10, 1963 (age 53)
Laurel, Mississippi
Political party Republican
Children Will, Ross, Jackson, Asher, & Harper
Residence Jackson, Mississippi
Alma mater University of Mississippi, Baylor University
Occupation politician

Charles Willis "Chip" Pickering, Jr. (born August 10, 1963) is a politician in the U.S. state of Mississippi. He represented Mississippi's 3rd congressional district as a Republican in the United States House of Representatives. First elected in 1996, he chose not to run again in 2008. He is currently the CEO at Incompas.[1]

Early life[edit]

Pickering was born in Laurel, Mississippi. His father is Judge Charles Pickering, Sr., a Mississippi lawyer, former municipal judge, retired Federal judge, and prominent Republican politician. He graduated from the University of Mississippi where he was a legacy member of the Eta Chapter of Sigma Chi. He went on to receive a Master's degree from Baylor University in 1989.[2][3]

Early political career[edit]

Pickering served as a Southern Baptist missionary to Hungary, after the end of Hungarian government persecution of religious believers. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed Pickering as a Department of Agriculture liaison to the former European Communist countries.

From 1992 to 1996, Pickering served on the staff of Senator Trent Lott.[3] Pickering helped shape the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the first major overhaul of US telecoms law since 1934.[4] After a year at the Senate Commerce Committee, Pickering ran for Congress[5] as a family values conservative.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Energy and Commerce Committee
    • Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee
    • Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee
    • Telecommunications & the Internet Subcommittee


Pickering returned to Mississippi to run as the Republican candidate for the 3rd District in 1996 following the retirement of 30-year incumbent Democrat Sonny Montgomery. He finished first in a crowded seven-way primary with 24 percent of the vote, and then defeated Bill Crawford in the runoff with 56 percent of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Democratic attorney John Eaves by a wide margin, taking 61 percent of the vote. However, the 3rd had been trending Republican for some time. Montgomery usually faced "sacrificial lamb" candidates even in years when Republican presidential candidates carried the district in landslides. It had been considered very likely that Montgomery would be succeeded by a Republican once he retired.

Questions were raised by political opponents about whether Pickering was a legal resident of Mississippi and lawfully qualified to run for the office. He claimed his farm in Madison County, outside Laurel, as his official residence, but his permanent residence was in the Washington area.

Pickering was reelected five times. He was unopposed for reelection in 1998 and defeated an underfunded Democrat in 2000. He only faced substantive opposition in 2002. Mississippi lost a district after the 2000 census, and the 3rd absorbed a large slice of the Jackson-based 4th district, held by second-term Democrat Ronnie Shows. However, Pickering retained over 60 percent of his former territory, and defeated Shows with 63 percent of the vote. He was reelected without major-party opposition in 2004 and 2006.


Pickering had a strongly conservative voting record. From 2003 to 2007, he served as vice-chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

In mid-August 2007, Pickering announced that he would not seek re-election in 2008, citing the desire to spend more time with his family.[7][8] Pickering was considered a top Republican contender for U.S. Senator Trent Lott's seat if Lott had retired in 2006. In 2007, he was said to be waiting to see if Senator Thad Cochran would retire in 2008; it is widely speculated that Pickering's decision to leave Congress was based on Cochran's decision to run for re-election.[9]

When Lott announced his resignation as Senator in November 2007, Pickering was rumored to be Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's choice to replace him. However, in December of that year, Pickering announced that he was not interested in the post;[10] fellow Republican Congressman Roger Wicker of Mississippi's 1st congressional district was appointed to Lott's seat. Pickering retired from the House in January 2009 and is currently a lobbyist for Cellular South.

Criminal activity[edit]

On December 7, 2009, Pickering was involved in a fight with the coach of a youth soccer team that coached against his son's team, and was charged with simple assault.[11] He was later sued by the coach he assaulted a year later in December 2010.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Pickering and his ex-wife, Leisha, have five sons, Will, Ross, Jackson, Asher, and Harper. In June 2008, Pickering filed for divorce from his wife citing irreconcilable differences. On July 16, 2009, his now ex-wife Leisha filed an alienation of affection lawsuit against Pickering's alleged longtime mistress Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd.[13]

Pickering is the cousin of state auditor, Stacey Pickering.

Film career[edit]

Pickering appeared in the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. In the film, he briefly appears at a lively Pentecostal meeting where spoken views against the theory of evolution are cheered by the congregation.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chip Pickering". Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Chip Pickering Articles - Political Columnist & Commentator". Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  3. ^ a b "110th Congress" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Stennis Center, Chip Pickering profile, accessed 1 August 2009
  5. ^ "Charles "Chip" Pickering Jr., former Representative for Mississippi's 3rd Congressional District -". Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Editorial". The Clarion-Ledger. August 18, 2007. 
  8. ^ Pickering Announces Retirement, Roll Call, August 16, 2007.
  9. ^ Dead link to Clarion-Ledger web site
  10. ^ Mark, David (December 28, 2007). "Pickering Removes Himself From Senate Consideration". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  11. ^ "Ex-Mississippi congressman accused of fighting youth soccer coach seeks resolution". Associated Press. December 9, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Chip Pickering Sued over Soccer Fight". Associated Press. December 6, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ex-Miss. politician's wife sues alleged mistress". Clarion Ledger. July 16, 2009. , Archived: at WebCite
  14. ^

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sonny Montgomery
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 3rd congressional district

January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Gregg Harper