Cochran announces he will resign April 1 |

Cochran announces he will resign April 1

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., announced today his intention to resign from the Senate effective April 1.

"I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge. 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 news release.

"It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country," he added.

"I've done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state. My top concern has always been my constituents in Mississippi. My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C. My efforts, and those of my staff, to assist them will continue and transfer to my successor."

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 10th-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

Cochran also chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee and previously served three terms in House of Representatives.

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His departure means Mississippi will have two Senate elections on the ballot this November, The Washington Post noted.

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker is up for reelection. Wicker is being challenged by Chris McDaniel, who failed in a bid against Cochran in 2014.