Sen. Thad Cochran is resigning — opening up another Republican seat this November
07 March, 2018, 00:26
Sen. Thad Cochran speaks at "Making AIDS History: A Roadmap for Ending the Epidemic" at the Hart Senate Building on June 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
It's hardly a big surprise that the very senior US senator from Mississippi, Thad Cochran, has announced his resignation from the Upper Chamber, effective April 1, after 40 years in the Senate and 46 years in Congress.
"I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge", Cochran said in a statement Monday. In a statement, Cochran said he intends to complete the appropriations cycle before retiring. "And the people of Mississippi-and our whole nation-have benefitted from his steady determination to do the latter", McConnell said.
Republicans are anxious that one or both of Mississippi's Senate seats could be in jeopardy unless a top replacement is named for Cochran.
A unique quirk that brings the potential for chaos in that special election: That special election will be a "jungle" race in which the candidates appear on the ballot with no party affiliation listed. Take three minutes and read my post from October about the sad state of Cochran's condition. Chris McDaniels. McDaniels, an anti-establishment conservative who has been tied to Steve Bannon and has a penchant for wanting to oust traditional Republicans, could drop his challenge to Wicker and instead run for Cochran's seat in the special election. So they dragged him around the state, keeping him away from voters at times to shield him from scrutiny, and it paid off - for them. He faced little opposition in most of his re-election efforts until 2014 when little known state Sen. Finally, at age 80, he'll be able to rest. Neither McDaniel nor a campaign aide immediately returned CNN calls and texts asking whether he will now shift to the race to replace Cochran.
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Republican Gov. Phil Bryant praised Cochran calling him one of the state's "greatest public servants". Are there any Republicans like that in Mississippi?
"Thad's well-earned reputation as a "quiet persuader" has endeared him to all his colleagues, " said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Bryant said he will appoint Cochran's temporary replacement within 10 days of his departure. Through his service in the Navy and as a leader in Congress over the last 40 years, he has served as an expert decision maker who accomplished major victories during his tenure. Conceivably he'd hold the seat without difficulty in November if he appoints himself now.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) is also up for reelection, and is facing Cochran's 2014 primary challenger, state Sen.
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