Republican Andy Taggart announces he will not run in U.S. Senate special election

Updated: Apr. 5, 2018 at 11:31 AM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Republican author and analyst Andy Taggart, who said he was seriously considering running in the U.S. Senate special election race, has announced that he will not run.

He released this statement Thursday morning:

"I have decided not to enter the race for United States Senate.

I am very grateful to my family for bearing with me, for the encouragement and advice so many friends have offered in the past two weeks, and for the kind offers of support from people I didn't even know before considering this race.

The positive reaction I received all over the state from people who join with me in support of a new state flag gives me great hope that we will see that change become a reality sooner rather than later."

The special election for Thad Cochran's vacancy in the Senate is sparking a lot of interest, even though the election isn't until November.

For weeks, Taggart had said he was considering entering the race and has been very vocal about his thoughts on the election and the Governor's appointment of former State Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill the vacancy.

Wednesday night, state Senator Chris McDaniel challenged Taggart on Twitter:

Taggart quickly joined in on the Twitter war:

McDaniel, a firebrand conservative, decided to switch races after Cochran announced his retirement. He was originally planning to challenge Senator Roger Wicker.

Governor Phil Bryant has appointed former State Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill the Senate vacancy until the special election on November 6 for the remainder of Cochran's term, which expires in 2020. The next full Senate term would begin in 2021. Many GOP leaders have concerns about Bryant's choice in Hyde-Smith because she served for years as a Democratic state senator.

Democrats Mike Espy, former U.S. Representative and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton have also entered the race.

Taggart will be issuing a statement later today on his decision not to run in the special election.

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