Mississippi's senior Senator says he will retire effective April 1. Sen. Thad Cochran, who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee, says his health has become an ongoing challenge. Cochran says he intends to fulfill his responsibilities and commitments and see the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle.
“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country" said Cochran. " I’ve done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state. " Cochran says he hopes by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured.
The 80-year-old Cochran stayed home for a month last fall with urinary tract infections, returning to Washington in October to give Republicans the majority they needed to pass a budget plan.
Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978, becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He is the tenth-longest serving Senator in U.S. history. Cochran previously served three terms in House of Representatives.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a temporary replacement. Then a special election will be held to fill the rest of the term, through January 2021.