Chris McDaniel switching races to run for Thad Cochran's open Se - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

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Chris McDaniel switching races to run for Thad Cochran's open Senate seat

Wednesday, state Senator Chris McDaniel has announced he is backing out of challenging Roger Wicker and will now run for Senator Thad Cochran's soon-to-be-open Senate seat in the November special election. Source: WLBT Archives Wednesday, state Senator Chris McDaniel has announced he is backing out of challenging Roger Wicker and will now run for Senator Thad Cochran's soon-to-be-open Senate seat in the November special election. Source: WLBT Archives
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

Wednesday, state Senator Chris McDaniel has announced he is backing out of challenging Roger Wicker and will now run for Senator Thad Cochran's soon-to-be-open Senate seat in the November special election.

The seat will become open on April 1, the date of Cochran's retirement.

READ MORE: Thad Cochran to resign from Senate effective April 1

Cochran's departure from the Senate will trigger a special election to fill his unexpired term. 

"By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats' chances of winning the open seat," McDaniel said. "If we unite the party now and consolidate our resources, we can guarantee Donald Trump will have a fighter who will stand with him."

Late Wednesday afternoon, Senator Wicker released the following statement on McDaniel's announcement:

“Until Senator McDaniel removes his name from the ballot for this race, we have no choice but to continue our campaign as planned.  Gayle and I are grateful for the outpouring of support we're receiving from all over the state.  We will not take anything for granted and will continue the hard work of once again earning the support of Mississippi voters.” - Roger Wicker

The open seat is the same seat McDaniel competed for in the 2014 Republican primary where he received the most votes with 49.5 percent of the total. Cochran, however, prevailed after 40,000 Democrats voted in the GOP run-off, giving Cochran a win by just over 6,000 votes.

Earlier Wednesday, McDaniel supporters rallied for Governor Phil Bryant to appoint McDaniel to Thad Cochran's seat ahead of that special election. Late Wednesday, the Governor sent this comment about McDaniel switching races:

"This opportunistic behavior is a sad commentary for a young man who once had great potential.:

The Mississippi Tea Party and Freedom Works held a press conference at the State Capitol.

McDaniel supporters say it would make sense for Bryant to appoint McDaniel.

Copyright 2018 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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