Newly appointed MS Senator visits DeSoto County

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - The soon-to-be first female member of Congress from Mississippi stopped in DeSoto County on Friday.

Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant this week to the U.S. Senate seat that longtime Sen. Thad Cochran will vacate in April.

She said she is looking forward to filling the seat and heading up to Washington D.C., and she welcomes the challenge in the special election to hold onto the seat.

"It is amazing, it's historic. I say it's not all about the gender thing. It's about who can go up there and get things done," Hyde-Smith said.

She stopped at an economic development luncheon in DeSoto County on Friday morning before heading to talk to area high school students.

Hyde-Smith will likely find herself in a hard fought campaign to keep Cochran's seat in a special election in November against State Sen. Chris McDaniel and other potential challengers.

"Whoever else gets in, that just happens, but the governor chose me to be sitting senator right now," she said.

As for reports the White House and President Donald Trump opposed her appointment, Hyde-Smith pushed back.

"I love that the comments are unknown sources. You're going to see a lot of changes there and look forward to that," she said.

Earlier this week, Ole Miss associate professor of political science Conor Dowling said the Hyde-Smith pick by Gov. Bryant is aimed at appealing to more traditional conservatives--amid fears McDaniel is too extreme in his political beliefs.

By Friday, McDaniel had already posted a statement online that's critical of the fact that Hyde-Smith used to be a Democrat.

The Clarion Ledger in Jackson reported that longtime Mississippi Republican Andy Taggart is considering running for the seat. Democratic Congressman Mike Espy has already thrown his name out there.

There is no primary in special elections in Mississippi and a candidate must get 50 percent of the vote to win or it goes to a runoff between the top two.

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