Missouri Governor Appoints Cindy Hyde-Smith to Fill Thad Cochran's Senate Seat

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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to appoint state Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to succeed a longtime USA senator who is resigning because of poor health.

Phil Bryant formally tapped the Republican former state senator to fill the unexpired term of Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who is poised to go out with a win on an omnibus spending bill before resigning effective April 1. She would be the first female member of Congress representing Mississippi.

Whoever Bryant appoints will run in the special election, which will be held on November 6, Chandler said. The announcement of the historic appointment will take place Wednesday afternoon at a train depot in Hyde-Smith's Brookhaven, Mississippi, hometown, Politico reported.

"I pledge to you to serve all of our citizens with dignity, honor and respect", she said. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Bryant has hotly denied any such influence, but has said he expected President Donald Trump and others to aid his choice. She praised his administration for cutting regulations on businesses. By choosing Hyde-Smith and passing over the 70-year-old Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Bryant follows a long MS tradition of seeking to place federal lawmakers who can stay in Congress for decades and build seniority and influence.

Hyde-Smith is a former colleague of McDaniel, having been elected three times to the state Senate from a rural southwest MS district that includes her hometown of Brookhaven. "I look forward to being her colleague and working with her to serve all Mississippians", Wicker stated.

Bryant is 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.

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Now, there are concerns that Hyde-Smith will not be able to defeat Chris McDaniel, a hard-right state senator who also is running in the November 6 special election and has been sharply critical of McConnell. Chris McDaniel, who is perhaps best known as the candidate who challenged Cochran back in 2014 and forced the race into a runoff that Cochran ended up winning thanks in no small part to strong support from Mississippi's African-American community. He was elected to the Senate in 1978 after six years in the House.

Hyde-Smith, the MS agriculture and commerce commissioner, will also run for election to the seat in November to finish out the rest of Cochran's term, which is up in 2020, Roll Call reported. "She is a very well-qualified person whose experiences and excellent character will benefit our state in Washington", he said.

On Wednesday, he applauded Hyde-Smith's appointment.

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.

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