Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran to Resign April 1 - NBC4 Washington
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Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran to Resign April 1

He was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving six years in the House

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    AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
    In this file photo, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., leaves the chamber as a vote to cut off debate on the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline bill fell short, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. Cochran announced he would retire from the U.S. Senate on April 1, 2018.

    Citing ill health, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced Monday that he will resign his Senate seat, effective April 1.

    The early departure clears the way for Gov. Phil Bryant, a fellow Republican, to appoint an interim successor — perhaps Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves — and sets up a special election on Nov. 6, NBC News reported.

    "I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate," Cochran said in a statement released by his office.

    Top Republican officials in Washington, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have tried to persuade Bryant to appoint himself — or technically, to step down in a deal to have Reeves appoint him — but people close to the governor say he's not interested in the job.

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