The Latest: Mississippi gov won’t appoint self to Senate

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

12:35 p.m.

Mississippi’s Republican governor says he will not appoint himself to succeed longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

Gov. Phil Bryant says there’s “something nefarious” about a governor appointing himself to another office.

Bryant also says: “Washington’s not where I want to be just now” and he wants to finish his second term as governor, which ends in January 2020.

Cochran, who is 80, is resigning April 1 because of poor health. Bryant says he will appoint a temporary senator after that, and he’s looking for someone who could serve at least 20 years.

Several candidates, across party lines, are expected to run in a special election in November. The winner will serve the rest of Cochran’s term, ending in January 2021.

Republicans are trying to maintain their slim Senate majority.


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.


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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