Republican to challenge Taylor

Next up on the National Republican Congressional Committee's target list: Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.).

The conservative Blue Dog Democrat learned Tuesday that he faces a potential matchup with state Rep. Steven Palazzo, who entered the race and appears to have the NRCC excited about his candidacy.

“Over the past three years, I have become increasingly concerned with the leadership of our country, including our congressional representative in the 4th district," Palazzo said in a statement. "With double-digit unemployment, entire local industries at risk, our national deficit at a record high, and our troops still at war, I can no longer sit on the sidelines, and I know more needs to be done to protect our local community and our nation."

Taylor should be a tough nut for the GOP to crack. Despite representing a district that voted 68-31 for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election, Taylor has won at least three-fourths of the vote in six of his last seven races, including 75 percent in 2008. Still, his district is one of the most conservative held by a Democrat.

Palazzo was elected to the state House in 2006 and is a military veteran, having served in the Marine Corps Reserves and Mississippi National Guard.