Hyde-Smith on governor’s short list to replace Sen. Cochran

Published 9:26 pm Monday, March 19, 2018

The list is short — and about to get much shorter.

Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to announce his choice to replace U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran soon. And Bryant is reportedly considering Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, of Brookhaven, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Of course, no one is spilling the beans on the record, either because they don’t know or they don’t want to get in front of Bryant’s announcement.

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Hyde-Smith has yet to say, replying with a “no comment” when a Daily Leader reporter asked her recently. Others in the Republican party are just as quiet.

A November special election will be held to fill the remainder of Cochran’s term. The appointment from Bryant only keeps the seat warm until then.

Hyde-Smith would be the state’s first female U.S. senator. It would be familiar territory for her. She is the state’s first ag commissioner.

If the governor chooses Hyde-Smith, she will face off against Sen. Chris McDaniel, who announced recently he was abandoning the race to challenge Sen. Roger Wicker and instead will fight for Cochran’s seat. His supporters have called for Bryant to appoint him to the seat, but the governor was clear that will not happen.

Hyde-Smith was elected in 2011 after serving three terms as a state senator. She had little trouble winning over her home county, taking 70 percent of the vote here. Across the state, she won about 58 percent of the vote. She was easily re-elected in 2015.

If it’s Hyde-Smith who gets the nod, an announcement would likely take place in Brookhaven, several sources said.

Cindy Hyde-Smith