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The Latest: US Senate announcement set in Mississippi

March 20, 2018
FILE - In this July 27, 2017, file photo Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss. The state's governor will appoint Hyde-Smith as Mississippi's first female member of Congress to fill the Senate vacancy that will soon be created when Sen. Thad Cochran retires, three state Republicans told The Associated Press on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
FILE - In this July 27, 2017, file photo Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss. The state's governor will appoint Hyde-Smith as Mississippi's first female member of Congress to fill the Senate vacancy that will soon be created when Sen. Thad Cochran retires, three state Republicans told The Associated Press on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. Senate vacancy in Mississippi (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is preparing to fill an upcoming vacancy in the U.S. Senate, and Republican sources tell The Associated Press that he will choose the state agriculture commissioner.

Bryant plans an announcement Wednesday in Brookhaven. That is the hometown of Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican who was first elected agriculture commissioner in 2011. She would be the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress.

Longtime Sen. Thad Cochran, who’s 80, is retiring April 1 because of health problems. Hyde-Smith would immediately begin campaigning for the Nov. 6 special election to fill the rest of Cochran’s term, which expires in January 2020.

Tea party-backed Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy, who was President Bill Clinton’s first agriculture secretary, also intend to run in the special election.

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10:22 a.m.

Three Mississippi Republicans tell The Associated Press that the state’s governor will appoint Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill the Senate vacancy that will soon be created when veteran Sen. Thad Cochran retires.

Hyde-Smith is the state’s agriculture commissioner. She will be Mississippi’s first female U.S. senator.

Once appointed, Hyde-Smith would immediately run for re-election for the nearly three years remaining in Cochran’s term. That special election will be Nov. 6.

Hyde-Smith is expected to be backed by the national and Mississippi GOP establishment against challenges from insurgent Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Democrats.

One source said Gov. Phil Bryant was expected to announce his selection of Hyde-Smith as early as Wednesday.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the record before the announcement.

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