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Thad Cochran to resign April 1

March 5, 2018 GMT

Sen. Thad Cochran announced Monday that he would resign April 1 due to ill health.

The 80-year-old Mississippi Republican and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee has struggled with failing health for several months.

“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge. I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Cochran said in a statement.

He continued: “It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country. I’ve done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state. My top concern has always been my constituents in Mississippi. My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C. My efforts, and those of my staff, to assist them will continue and transfer to my successor.”

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The statement noted that Mr. Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978, becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi.

He is the tenth-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, will select a replacement for Mr. Cochran.