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Sen. Thad Cochran to resign April 1

By Daniel Uria
Sen. Thad Cochran to resign April 1
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi announced he will retire effective April 1 as his health has become an "ongoing challenge." File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

March 5 (UPI) -- Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi announced Monday he will resign at the beginning of next month citing his deteriorating health.

Cochran, 80, issued a statement saying his health has become an "ongoing challenge" and he will formally resign from the Senate on April 1.

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"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," he said.

Cochran served three terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate for the first time in 1978, becoming the first Republican to win a statewide election in Mississippi in more than 100 years.

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He was most recently re-elected in 2014 and is the 10th-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

"It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country. I've done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state," Cochran said. "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.

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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will be tasked with appointing a replacement to fill Cochran's seat until a special election can be held for a senator to fulfill the rest of Cochran's term, which runs through the end of 2020.

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