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Breaking: Governor Bryant appoints Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill Cochran’s seat

Governor Bryant and Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith chat before the ground breaking ceremony. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

Ever since Thad Cochran announced his retirement from the U.S. Senate, speculation has swirled around who Governor Phil Bryant would appoint. Today, he has put the rumors to rest and has officially announced that Cindy Hyde Smith, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture, will be heading to Washington D.C. By doing so, Hyde-Smith will become to first woman that the Magnolia State has sent to our nation’s capital.

Previously, the Governor stated that he would wait until after Cochran’s retirement became official on April 1st to announce his selection. The race for Cochran’s seat has been thrown back into the headlines following state Senator Chris McDaniel’s decision to run for the seat, which could have served as a catalyst in the appointment process.

Hyde-Smith has served in her current role with the MDA since 2011, and previously served as a state Senator for 12 years. Hyde-Smith is now a Republican, but served as a Democrat for the first 10 years of her term representing District 39. During her time in the legislature, Hyde-Smith earned the highest grade for a strong pro-business and fiscally conservative voting record from the Business and Industry Political Education Committee.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hyde-Smith co-chaired the Trump campaign’s Agriculture Advisory Committee. Hyde-Smith’s connection with Trump and Governor Bryant will bode well for her when the special election cycle begins to ramp up. Governor Bryant publicly opposed McDaniel’s decision to run for Cochran’s seat after originally opting to challenge Senator Wicker.

“This opportunistic behavior is a sad commentary for a young man who once had great potential,” Governor Bryant said.

Democrat Mike Espy is also running to fill the seat. Espy has been in Washington before on behalf of Mississippi, serving as the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi.

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