U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee and a member of the Republican Party’s old guard, said on Monday he will resign on April 1, putting another Republican Senate seat in play in elections this year.
“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge,” Cochran, 80, first elected to the Senate in 1978, said in a statement. “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.”
Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant has 10 days to appoint a replacement once Cochran formally notifies him of his retirement, the governor’s office said. A special election will follow in November to fill the remainder of Cochran’s term.