Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator
© Wikimedia Commons

Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) was sworn in on Monday to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranGOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race GOP Senate candidate doubles down on Robert E. Lee despite Twitter poll MORE (R-Miss.).  

Vice President Pence administered the oath on the Senate floor to Hyde-Smith, who was formerly Mississippi’s commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.  

Fellow Mississippi Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerTrump cancels Mississippi rally due to hurricane Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections MORE (R) accompanied Hyde-Smith, as did GOP Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGrand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser MORE (Utah), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (Tenn.) Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGrassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Ford: ‘Mr. President, refer to her by her name’ MORE (Maine) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSanders hits Feinstein over Kavanaugh allegations: Now it’s clear why she did nothing for months On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal MORE (Ky.), along with Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHouse Dems push to delay Kavanaugh vote for investigation Democrats should end their hypocrisy when it comes to Kavanaugh and the judiciary Celebrities back both Cuomo and Nixon as New Yorkers head to primary vote MORE (D-N.Y.).

Pence and Hyde-Smith are also expected to take part in a mock swearing-in from the old Senate chamber.


Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate seat after Cochran resigned on April 1 following four decades in the chamber.

Cochran announced his decision to retire last month, saying his health had became an "ongoing challenge" and he wanted to step down with enough time to ensure a "smooth transition" to his successor.

Cochran, who ran the Appropriations Committee, marked the third Senate committee chairman to announce his decision to retire or resign this year. GOP Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGrassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing The Memo: Kavanaugh firestorm consumes political world Murkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify MORE (Tenn.) and Hatch, who oversee the Foreign Relations and Finance committees, respectively, are retiring after 2018.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) announced late last month that Hyde-Smith, a former Democrat who joined the GOP in 2010, would temporarily fill Cochran’s seat.

Hyde-Smith is the state’s first female senator and brings the total number of women in the Senate to 23 — an all-time high for the chamber.

Under Mississippi election law, a special election will be held in November for the remainder of Cochran’s term, which runs through 2020. If no one receives 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates would then compete in a runoff.

Cochran’s retirement has shaken up Mississippi’s political scene.

Chris McDaniel, a conservative firebrand who unsuccessfully challenged Cochran in 2014, was running against Wicker in this year’s midterms but announced in March that he will run for Cochran’s seat instead.

Republicans are growing concerned that Cochran’s retirement could threaten their ability to keep his seat in the “R” column.

Hyde-Smith has close ties to the Trump administration and was reportedly considered for the role of Agriculture secretary after serving as a co-chair on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's Agriculture Advisory Committee during his presidential campaign.

But White House officials reportedly told Bryant that Trump would not endorse Hyde-Smith if she runs in November, fearing her past as a Democrat could be a ballot box liability.

Internal Republican polling showed Hyde-Smith behind both McDaniel and a Democratic candidate.