Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator
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Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) was sworn in on Monday to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranEspy wins Mississippi Senate Democratic primary Bottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid 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 WickerSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Bottom line GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney MORE (R) accompanied Hyde-Smith, as did GOP Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMellman: Roberts rescues the right? DACA remains in place, but Dreamers still in limbo Bottom line MORE (Utah), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderRepublicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report Sixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Randi Weingarten MORE (Tenn.) Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (Maine) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding MORE (Ky.), along with Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs 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 CorkerCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism 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 TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' 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.