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.

Confirmed Cases: 117617

Reported Deaths: 3302
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8011179
DeSoto721079
Harrison539884
Jackson469387
Rankin401686
Madison384394
Lee364082
Forrest309478
Jones296184
Washington260399
Lafayette253143
Lauderdale2499135
Lamar229138
Oktibbeha203755
Bolivar202877
Neshoba1861111
Lowndes181262
Panola170640
Leflore169188
Sunflower164049
Warren156056
Monroe153073
Pontotoc149020
Marshall147330
Lincoln142959
Pike140456
Copiah138736
Scott126229
Coahoma125537
Yazoo122734
Grenada122639
Simpson122349
Union119725
Tate119339
Itawamba115926
Leake115842
Pearl River115060
Holmes114960
Adams109344
Prentiss108320
Wayne102722
Alcorn102112
George101419
Covington98529
Marion95443
Tippah93123
Newton86827
Chickasaw86226
Hancock85928
Tallahatchie84626
Winston84621
Tishomingo82241
Attala80526
Clarke76353
Clay70522
Jasper69217
Walthall64127
Calhoun62713
Noxubee60117
Smith59816
Yalobusha55614
Montgomery55423
Claiborne53916
Tunica53617
Lawrence53414
Perry51223
Carroll49712
Stone48614
Greene47918
Humphreys44916
Amite42713
Quitman4216
Jefferson Davis41711
Webster37813
Benton3608
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27710
Franklin2483
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 160380

Reported Deaths: 2713
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
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