Governor Phil Bryant appointed the first female U.S. Senator from Mississippi-Cindy Hyde-Smith, who's now the state's commissioner of agriculture.
The president of Forrest-Lamar Republican Women, Sue Bush, is reacting to the selection of Mississippi's Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce to replace retiring U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.
Hyde-Smith, a Republican, served as Mississippi's commissioner of agriculture and commerce until her appointment.
By choosing Hyde-Smith and passing over the 70-year-old Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Bryant follows a long MS tradition of seeking to place federal lawmakers who can stay in Congress for decades and build seniority and influence.
Cochran praised Hyde-Smith, a Republican, in a statement, saying that she is "a very well-qualified person whose experiences and excellent character will benefit our state in Washington".
"I worked hard with our MS delegation to make sure proper inspection is now being done", Hyde-Smith said.
She switched to the Republican Party in late 2010 and was elected statewide in 2011 as the MS commissioner of agriculture. "We are all supporting you and your agenda to Make America Great Again!"
When asked if gender had anything to do with Hyde-Smith's appointment, Governor Bryant had a quick answer.
She served 12 years as a Democrat in the state senate from her rural district before switching to the Republican party in late 2010. He complimented Hyde-Smith's "toughness" and said he is confident in her conservatism and has "never seen her waver".
She immediately begins campaigning for a November 6 nonpartisan special election to fill the rest of Cochran's term, which expires in January 2021. It was a scenario that played out in last year's Alabama Senate special election, when the president got behind appointed Sen. It's a part of her past that Chris McDaniel is already capitalizing on.
State Senator Chris McDaniel, who narrowly lost to Cochran in a 2014 primary race for the U.S. Senate, pulled out of the race this November to challenge U.S. Senator Roger Wicker.
Hyde-Smith will become the state's first woman to represent MS in Congress. "If there are other conservatives that feel like the party has moved away from them, they are certainly welcome to come to the Republican Party today. I look forward to being her colleague and working with her to serve all Mississippians".
At issue is Hyde-Smith's past as a Democrat, though she describes herself as a "lifelong conservative".
Conor Dowling, an associate professor of political science at Ole Miss, said the Hyde Smith pick is aimed at icing McDaniel out because of concern from Republicans he may be too conservative to win.
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