FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., returns to the Capitol for a vote in Washington. Cochran tells The Associated Press he will resign April 1 because of health problems. The 80-year-old has had 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. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The Latest: Gov. Bryant seen as unlikely to go to Senate

March 06, 2018 - 12:19 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on the upcoming vacancy U.S. Senate vacancy in Mississippi (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

Republican leaders doubt that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint himself to succeed fellow Republican Thad Cochran when the longtime U.S. senator resigns.

That's according to Cochran's chief of staff, Brad White, who tells The Associated Press on Tuesday he has the impression that the possibility of Bryant appointing himself is "not an option that's on the table."

The 80-year-old Cochran announced Monday that he will resign April 1 because of poor health. The governor will appoint a temporary successor to Cochran. A special election will be held in November to fill the rest of the Senate term, which ends in January 2021.

Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler did not answer a question Monday about whether Bryant would appoint himself. Chandler did not immediately return multiple messages Tuesday.

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11:22 p.m.

Republicans suddenly find themselves defending two seats in Mississippi as they try to maintain their slim majority in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Roger Wicker is already up for re-election in the deeply conservative state. And 80-year-old Sen. Thad Cochran announced Monday that he is resigning April 1 because of poor health.

Cochran is just over halfway through a six-year term. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint someone to temporarily succeed Cochran, and a special election will be in November.

The open seat is expected to attract several candidates. President Bill Clinton's first agriculture secretary, Democrat Mike Espy, says he has a "strong intention" to run.

Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel could jump in. He narrowly lost a bitter race to Cochran in 2014.

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