Governor Picks Conservative Replacement for Retiring Senator

Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to announce Wednesday in Brookhaven he’s picked Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace Sen. Thad Cochran.

The move is likely to gain approval from President Donald Trump in lead-up to one of the most important midterm elections in the country, and the powerful Farm Bureau is expected to mobilize behind Hyde-Smith, a key factor in Bryant’s decision, GOP sources said.

Bryant by Monday had narrowed his short list down to Hyde-Smith and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, sources close to the governor said. On Monday evening, at a reception for the Business and Industry Political Education Committee, Bryant and Hyde-Smith entered the reception together after meeting privately, sources said.

Republican Hyde-Smith, 58, a beef cattle farmer from Brookhaven and former longtime state senator, would become the first female U.S. Senator in Mississippi history. Assuming she would seek the post permanently, she would run in a special election Nov. 6. Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Mike Espy, a former U.S. Agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration have announced they are also running for the seat.

Read more at the Clarion Ledger.