Gov. Bryant appoints Cindy Hyde-Smith to succeed Thad Cochran

Cindy Hyde-Smith

The governor of Mississippi appointed state Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith on Wednesday to succeed fellow Republican Thad Cochran in the U.S. Senate.

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 12:36 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 1:54 PM

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP/WTVA) — The governor of Mississippi appointed state Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith on Wednesday to succeed fellow Republican Thad Cochran in the U.S. Senate.

Cochran, who is 80, is stepping down April 1 because of poor health. Hyde-Smith, 58, would be the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress. She will immediately begin campaigning for a Nov. 6 nonpartisan special election to fill the rest of Cochran's term, which expires in January 2020.

Hyde-Smith thanked Gov. Phil Bryant for entrusting her with the appointment to the Senate.

"I pledge to you to serve all of our citizens with dignity, honor and respect," she said.

She pledged to work closely with Mississippi's other Republican senator, Roger Wicker, and to promote President Donald Trump's agenda. In 2016, she was one of many agriculture advisers to Trump's presidential campaign. She praised his administration for cutting regulations on businesses.

“Governor Phil Bryant has made an excellent and historic pick in Cindy Hyde-Smith to be our next United States Senator. She served admirably in the Mississippi Senate and as our Commissioner of Agriculture, and I know she will be an effective, conservative Senator from day one. I look forward to being her colleague and working with her to serve all Mississippians," Wicker stated.

Bryant is also a Trump supporter and has said he believes the president will campaign for his Senate appointee in the special election, which could attract several candidates.

Chris McDaniel, a tea party-backed state senator who nearly unseated Cochran in a bruising 2014 Republican primary, said last week that he is running in the special election. Democrat Mike Espy, who was President Bill Clinton's first agriculture secretary, also intends to run. Espy in 1986 became the first African-American in modern times to win a congressional seat in Mississippi, and he has publicly supported both Democrats and Republicans in various races.

Cochran's resignation creates two Senate races this year in Mississippi as Republicans are trying to maintain their slim Senate majority. Although it is a deeply conservative state, Democrats are hoping to capitalize on divisions among Republicans in hopes of winning a Nov. 27 runoff, if there is one.

“I congratulate Governor Bryant on his historic selection of Cindy Hyde-Smith to represent Mississippi in the United States Senate. She is a very well-qualified person whose experiences and excellent character will benefit our state in Washington," Cochran stated.

Hyde-Smith grew up in the small town of Monticello in southern Mississippi, and farmer Barbara Lowe, who still lives there, has known her for decades.

"Cindy has always been a people person, has always wanted to help and do for everybody," Lowe, 67, said Wednesday outside a former train depot in downtown Brookhaven, where more the 200 people gathered for the Senate announcement.

Hyde-Smith served 12 years as a Democrat in the state Senate from her rural district before switching to the Republican Party in late 2010.

In 2011, she won a three-way GOP primary for agriculture commissioner without a runoff. She beat Democratic opponents even more easily in the 2011 and 2015 general elections.

Hyde-Smith is one of only four women ever elected to statewide office in Mississippi. It and Vermont are the only two U.S. states that never have elected a woman to Congress.

Bryant has said he was focused on naming a senator who could serve at least 20 years. Mississippi has a tradition of sending the same people to Washington for decades to build seniority and influence. Cochran is in his second stint as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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Clouds increase a bit more on Tuesday, though there will still be plenty of sunshine at times. Temperatures will remain very warm. An isolated sprinkle or shower is possible later in the day, though rain chances are much more likely into Wednesday as a cold front passes.
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