Sen. Thad Cochran marries longtime aide
© Greg Nash

Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom line Bottom line Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future MORE (R-Miss.) married longtime aide Kay Webber over the weekend, his office announced Monday.

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Cochran and Webber, his executive assistant who has worked for him since 1981, married during a private family ceremony in Gulfport, Miss., on Saturday, his office said in a one-line statement.

The relationship between Webber and Cochran, whose wife of 50 years died in December, faced scrutiny during last year's Republican primary in the state.

Supporters of state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran's challenger, pointed out that Webber accompanied the incumbent senator on more than two dozen trips to 45 countries, in addition to 39 trips to Mississippi over two years.

A Cochran spokesman defended those trips to The New York Times at the time, describing them as "strictly professional" and "perfectly appropriate" in her role as a senior staff member.

Breitbart News also reported last year that Cochran lived near the Capitol in a basement apartment of a row house owned by Webber. He listed the apartment on official forms as his primary address.

Multiple Cochran staff members denied a rumored marriage between the pair as recently as last week, The Clarion-Ledger reported.