MISSISSIPPI | MS-sen

Cochran’s Retirement Could Scramble Wicker’s Race

McDaniel left the door open to running for Cochran’s seat, while Mike Espy said he has “strong intention” to run.

Kimberly Railey
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Kimberly Railey
March 6, 2018, 10:05 a.m.

Sen. Thad Cochran (R) announced he will resign from the Senate on April 1, citing health reasons. “Cochran’s retirement means that” Gov. Phil Bryant (R) “will have 10 days to appoint an interim senator. A special election would then be held on Election Day in November to fill the rest of … Cochran’s term, which expires in 2020.”

“Multiple Republican officials said … Bryant was likely to pick somebody who would run for the seat in November, avoiding a caretaker. The question now is whether” state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) “will drop his challenge to” Sen. Roger Wicker (R) and run for Cochran’s seat. McDaniel said in a statement Monday that “all options remain on the table.”

“Republicans close to the governor said he would not choose” McDaniel to replace Cochran. If Bryant does not appoint himself, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have encouraged, “the governor is expected to consider Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R), who is also thought to want to run for governor when … Bryant becomes term-limited in 2019, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R). Other possibilities include” state House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) and state Auditor Stacey Pickering (R). (New York Times)

Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy (D) said Monday he has “strong intention to run” for Cochran’s seat. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)

IN THE MIX. State Rep. David Baria (D), who announced his challenge to Wicker last week, “indicated he would not switch races, but he was far from definitive in his written statement. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)

Meanwhile, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who is switching from the Democratic Party to become an Independent, may run for Cochran’s seat. (New York Times)

Correction: A previous version of this post misstated Espy’s plans.

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