Former Secretary of Agriculture to run for Cochran seat |

Former Secretary of Agriculture to run for Cochran seat

-The Hagstrom Report

Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, a Democrat, intends to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mississippi News Now and The Clarion-Ledger reported.

Cochran has announced he will resign for health reasons on April 1.

Espy was the first agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration, from 1993 to 1994, and was the first African-American to hold the position.

He also served as the first African-American House member from Mississippi since Reconstruction after the Civil War, serving from 1987 to 1993.

He was indicted for receiving improper gifts in 1997, but was acquitted of all charges in 1998. After resigning the USDA post amidst the controversies, Espy returned to Mississippi where he has worked as a lawyer.

Mississippi will hold a special election in November for the Cochran seat as well as a regular election for the other Senate seat. Republican Sen. Roger Wicker is running for re-election but is being challenged in a primary by Chris McDaniel, who tried but failed to unseat Cochran in 2014.

It is unclear whether Republican Gov. Phil Bryant must appoint an interim senator, The Clarion-Ledger said.