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Mississippi official says still-living ex-senator ‘deceased’

April 25, 2019 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s secretary of state incorrectly told college students that Republican former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is “deceased.”

The 81-year-old Cochran is alive.

The Clarion Ledger reports Republican Delbert Hosemann spoke Thursday to University of Mississippi journalism students in Oxford. In a recording sent to the newspaper, one student asked Hosemann how close he and Cochran are. Hosemann replied: “He’s deceased, so I’m not real close.”

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He then praised Cochran’s leadership, using the past tense.

Cochran retired from the Senate amid health concerns in 2018 and is living in Oxford. A former chief of staff, Brad White, says he saw Cochran on Thursday “and he’s very much alive.”

Hosemann is running for lieutenant governor. In a statement, he said: “I made an improper comment, and I sincerely apologize.”

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Information from: The Clarion Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com