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Cindy Hyde-Smith Appointed to Senate

Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Mississippi agriculture commissioner, was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Mississippi) to take Sen. Thad Cochran's seat.

Cochran, a Republican who has served in the position since 1978, retires from the Senate on the first of April due to poor health.

Cindy Hyde-Smith, incoming U.S. senator from Mississippi

Hyde-Smith, who will be the first member of the U.S. Congress from the State of Mississippi, was a member of the Democratic Party until 2010.

Suspiciously, Hyde-Smith, formerly a state senator, switched parties a year before pursuing statewide office in one of the most conservative states in the nation.

On November 6, 2018, Cochran's old seat will be on the ballot along with the seat currently occupied by Sen. Roger Wicker, also a Republican.

However, it is not clear whether Hyde-Smith will be guaranteed the Republican vote in what will likely be a three-way race with a Democrat. She is being challenged from the right by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who planned to challenge Wicker in the primary prior to the resignation of Cochran.

Sen. Chris McDaniel

McDaniel, who has served in the Mississippi Senate since 2008, won the first stage of the 2014 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, nearly ousting Cochran. However, the second ballot -- which was conducted after intense campaigning by both sides -- gave Cochran the one-point lead that he needed to secure the nomination.

Cochran, who campaigned among Democrats (who are legally allowed to vote in Mississippi GOP primaries), was accused of dirty tricks.