Miss. gov. appoints replacement for Sen. Cochran

The Latest: US Senate announcement set in Mississippi

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

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.

Hyde-Smith will succeed fellow Republican Thad Cochran, 80, who is stepping down on 1 April because of poor health.

Brookhaven is the hometown of Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican and cattle farmer who was first elected agriculture commissioner in 2011.

"I congratulate Governor Bryant on his historic selection of Cindy Hyde-Smith to represent MS in the United States Senate".

"The honor you bestow upon me today is certainly anything I have never dreamed of or imagined", said Hyde-Smith following Bryant's announcement.

After she's appointed she will immediately run for re-election on November 6 for the remainder of Cochran's term which expires in 2020. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hyde-Smith served on a large agriculture advisory committee for Trump.

"She is very unlikely to make the run-off in November, which is why we are writing to you, asking that you not lend your name to a candidate that is likely to lose", the Republicans writing the McDaniel letter said of Hyde-Smith.

The official added that Trump doesn't have an issue with Hyde-Smith, but told the governor that he didn't want to get involved in what will likely be a contest race between the two Republicans.

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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.

Have people already announced their intention to run for the seat?

Espy in 1986 became the first African-American in modern times to win a congressional seat in Mississippi.

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.

McDaniel is not the only one criticizing Hyde-Smith's appointment.

"I look forward to being her colleague and working with her to serve all Mississippians".

Conservative Chris McDaniel had originally meant to challenge incumbent Sen.

"I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of MS and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate", he said in a statement at the time. The mild-mannered Cochran joined the Senate when it had a far clubbier atmosphere and he played an insider's game throughout his seven terms - particularly as current chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which had always been a bipartisan powerhouse and way to send taxpayer dollars home. Prior to becoming a Republican, she served as a Democrat in Mississippi's state senate. She switched to the GOP in late 2010 and was elected agriculture commissioner in 2011, holding the job since then. McDaniel had announced past year that he would be challenging Senator Roger Wicker, who is up for re-election in November, but decided in recent weeks to switch his candidacy to the race for Cochran's seat, a fact that makes it significantly more likely that McDaniel could win the primary and, by extension, the General Election given Mississippi's status as a strongly red state. Now, they are going to appoint one in Mississippi.

McDaniel, seeking an anti-establishment message, has been accusing Bryant of letting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or other GOP leaders in Washington pick the state's next senator. Bryant denied any such influence, but said he expects Trump and others to aid his choice.

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