Longtime Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran Dead at 81

by Henry Rodgers


Former Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran died early Thursday morning in Oxford, Miss., at age 81.

Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978, making him the first Republican to win a statewide election in Mississippi in over 100 years. The Mississippi Republican also served in the House of Representatives for three terms before running for Senate, the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported.

Cochran resigned from the Senate in April 2018. In a statement from his successor, Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s office said, Cochran “passed away peacefully early Thursday morning in Oxford,” saying “Cochran’s family extends its gratitude for the support shown to the Senator by Mississippians over the years.

The University Of Mississippi, where Cochran graduated from college, sent out a tweet after the news broke, saying “The Ole Miss Family has lost a legend with the passing of a great Mississippian and UM alumnus in former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. His unwavering service and contributions to the university and the state are part of the lasting legacy he leaves behind.”

Cochran was the 10th-longest-serving senator in U.S. history.

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Henry Rodgers is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Henry on Twitter.
Background Photo “Mississippi Capitol” by Michael Barera. CC BY-SA 4.0.







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One Thought to “Longtime Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran Dead at 81”

  1. Bill Delzell

    Cochran was the second person in the 1970’s to give the previous Democrat, James Eastland, a real challenge to his tenure. In 1972, a moderate (and possibly leftist Republican) named Gil Carmichael paved the way for Cochran by challenging Eastland from the left. Although he lost to nobody’s surprise, he put up a better than expected fight and actually forced Eastland to get off his front porch with his mint-julip to campaign real hard to hold his seat. The fact that Carmicheal could do this without any help from fellow Mississippian Republicans who thought that Eastland would show more loyalty to Nixon than Carmichael would. That probably would have been the end of Carmichael’s influence with Mississippi Republican politics except that in 1976, Carmichael who supported Gerald Ford’s campaign against Ronald Reagan, actually enabled Ford to beat Reagan in the state Republican presidential primary, even though Ford would barely lose to Carter.

    Thus, Thad Cochran owed plenty to Carmichael’s struggles in his successful replacement of Eastland in 1978. Cochran would also owe liberals in 2016 when they crossed over in the Mississippi Republican Senatorial primary to beat back a far right Republican rival.