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: 64400

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5416112
DeSoto347227
Madison236360
Harrison228735
Rankin220231
Jackson215641
Jones182857
Forrest170155
Washington154835
Lauderdale137990
Lee129732
Neshoba126490
Lamar117713
Oktibbeha107737
Lowndes102333
Bolivar101032
Warren99531
Scott97820
Panola96012
Sunflower94223
Copiah92928
Lafayette90714
Leflore88261
Pike86133
Holmes85948
Grenada81921
Yazoo80312
Lincoln78741
Pontotoc7808
Leake77625
Simpson76730
Wayne74921
Monroe73151
Coahoma68410
Tate68327
Marion63419
Marshall6169
Covington60313
Adams59625
Winston59315
Union55215
George5454
Newton53011
Pearl River51537
Tallahatchie51210
Attala51024
Walthall48219
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee43811
Claiborne39913
Calhoun3929
Smith38913
Clay38014
Jasper3799
Alcorn3775
Prentiss3699
Hancock34914
Tishomingo3445
Itawamba32310
Clarke32225
Tippah32013
Tunica3076
Yalobusha30410
Lawrence3027
Montgomery3023
Humphreys28111
Carroll24811
Quitman2381
Greene23011
Kemper22715
Jefferson Davis2256
Perry2207
Amite2176
Webster21112
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson19313
Sharkey1913
Stone1603
Choctaw1294
Benton1280
Franklin1152
Issaquena241
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 91776

Reported Deaths: 1639
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12186230
Mobile9269204
Montgomery6350148
Madison512227
Tuscaloosa400269
Baldwin332223
Shelby311932
Marshall300134
Unassigned287856
Lee255442
Morgan227015
Etowah196728
DeKalb172113
Elmore163337
Calhoun162713
Walker147964
Houston133412
Dallas129823
Russell12672
St. Clair125214
Limestone122713
Franklin121520
Cullman117112
Colbert112213
Lauderdale111113
Autauga103021
Escambia98115
Talladega94613
Jackson8904
Chambers83238
Tallapoosa82778
Dale79823
Butler75435
Blount7453
Chilton7386
Coffee7255
Covington71620
Pike6727
Barbour5645
Lowndes56124
Marion54724
Marengo52914
Clarke4919
Hale45926
Bullock44411
Winston43511
Perry4324
Wilcox41110
Monroe3964
Randolph39210
Bibb3844
Pickens3769
Conecuh37310
Sumter36018
Lawrence3251
Macon31613
Washington31512
Crenshaw3073
Choctaw27612
Cherokee2497
Greene24711
Henry2473
Geneva2430
Clay2255
Lamar2052
Fayette1785
Cleburne1211
Coosa952
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