|U.S. Senator Thad Cochran|
|United States Senator
December 27, 1978
Serving with Roger Wicker
|Preceded by||James O. Eastland|
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations|
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Ted Stevens|
|Succeeded by||Robert Byrd|
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry|
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Tom Harkin|
|Succeeded by||Saxby Chambliss|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 4th district
January 3, 1973 – December 26, 1978
|Preceded by||Sonny Montgomery|
|Succeeded by||Jon Hinson|
|Born||William Thad Cochran
December 7, 1937
|Spouse(s)||Rose Clayton Cochran|
|Alma mater||University of Mississippi (B.A., J.D.)|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1959-1961|
William Thad Cochran (born December 7, 1937) is the senior United States Senator from Mississippi and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1978, he is currently the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, having previously chaired that Committee from 2003 to 2005 and also chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee from 2005 to 2007. Cochran is the third most-senior Senator and the second most-senior Republican member.
Cochran was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, the son of Emma Grace (née Berry) and William Holmes Cochran, a teacher and school principal, respectively. His family settled in Hinds County, Mississippi, home of the state capital, Jackson, in 1946 after a few moves around the northern part of the state. Cochran still lives in Jackson today. Cochran earned Eagle Scout as a youth and was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award as an adult. He graduated valedictorian2 from Byram High School near Jackson and received a B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi with a major in psychology and a minor in political science in 1959. There he joined the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and was on the cheerleading squad (fellow senator Trent Lott was also an Ole Miss cheerleader).3 After a time in the United States Navy (1959–1961), he attended the University of Mississippi School of Law, was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and graduated in 1965. He then practiced law for seven years. He married Rose Clayton on June 6, 1964; the couple has two children, Clayton and Kate.
In 1972, Democratic Congressman Charles H. Griffin of Mississippi's 3rd congressional district decided not to run for a third full term. Cochran won the Republican nomination for the Jackson-based district, which was renumbered as Mississippi's 4th congressional district after redistricting. He defeated Democratic state senator Ellis B. Bodron by 47.9% to 44%. A factor in Cochran's victory was the strong Republican showing in that year's presidential election. Richard Nixon won most of the counties in the 4th district by over 70% of the vote. Hinds County, for instance, gave him 77%, en route to taking 78% of Mississippi's popular vote. That year, Cochran and Trent Lott (who later served alongside him in the U.S. Senate) became only the second and third Republicans to be elected to represent Mississippi in the House of Representatives since Reconstruction. Cochran quickly became very popular in his district, even though almost none of its living residents had been represented by a Republican before. He was handily re-elected with 70.2% in 1974, a year in which anger over the Watergate scandal caused several Republicans to lose their seats. He was re-elected with an even larger 76% of the vote in 1976.
In 1978, six-term Democratic Senator James Eastland decided to retire. Cochran ran for the seat and won the Republican primary, defeating State Senator and former Jones County prosecutor Charles W. Pickering by 69% to 31%. In the general election, he faced Democrat Maurice Dantin, a former District Attorney who had triumphed in a four-way primary with the backing of Eastland, and Independent candidate Charles Evers, the Mayor of Fayette. Evers, the first African-American to be elected Mayor of a Mississippi town since Reconstruction, split the Democratic vote and Cochran won with a plurality, taking 45.3% to Dantin's 31.8% and Evers' 22.6%.4 This made Cochran the first Republican to win a statewide election in Mississippi in a century.5 Eastland resigned on December 27 to give Cochran a seniority advantage over new incoming senators. Governor Cliff Finch appointed Cochran to serve the remaining week of Eastland's term.6
Cochran faced a strong challenge for re-election from incumbent Democratic Governor William Winter in 1984 but he was re-elected with 60.9% to Winter's 39.1%. For decades, he did not face a serious challenger. He was completely unopposed in 1990 and took 71% of the vote in 1996. The Democratic nominee, Bootie Hunt, a retired factory worker, took just 27.4%. No Democrat ran against him in 2002 and he faced only Reform Party candidate Shawn O'Hara, beating him by 84.6% to 15.4%. He faced his first serious challenger in 24 years in 2008 when the Democrats nominated State Representative Erik R. Fleming. In a year that saw widespread Democratic gains, Cochran was re-elected with 61.4% to Fleming's 38.6%.
If Cochran completes his current term, he will pass Eastland as the second-longest serving Senator in Mississippi's history. Until 1989, Cochran served alongside Democrat John C. Stennis, the longest-serving Senator in Mississippi's history. As of 2013 he is the fourth-longest currently serving Senator, and the second-longest serving Republican.
Generally, Cochran keeps a lower national profile than conventional wisdom would suggest for a six-term Senator. This stands in marked contrast to Eastland, Stennis and Lott. However, Cochran has considerable influence behind the scenes, especially in Mississippi. This is not surprising given his status as the "elder statesman" of the state Republican Party.
Cochran served as Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 1985 to 1991 and as Chairman from 1991 to 1996. He is its only former Chairman currently in the Senate. He Chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, he was appointed as Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, making him the first Republican from a former Confederate state to chair the committee. He is currently the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee.
It appears that recognition from his colleagues was quick in coming: In 2005, an agricultural appropriations bill proposed by the Committee Cochran chaired contained a provision (sec. 782) that said:
|“||The Federal facility located at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville, Mississippi, and known as the "Southern Horticultural Laboratory", shall be known and designated as the "Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory"7||”|
In April 2006, he was selected by Time as one of "America's 10 Best Senators". He was dubbed "The Quiet Persuader" for his role in winning money for the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He managed to win "$29 billion out of his colleagues, almost double the money [President George W.] Bush and congressional leaders had initially pledged". Earlier, Cochran threatened to derail a defense appropriations bill unless it included funding for installations on the Gulf Coast. The article also noted that Cochran has "gained the trust of the Administration and Capitol Hill for his quiet, courtly manner... using his experience and mastery of the issues to persuade his colleagues privately rather than making demands on them in public". The magazine quoted an unnamed "senior GOP Senator" who said "He doesn't get a whole lot of play in terms of coverage, but he is effectively stubborn doing what needs to be done."8
On July 18, 2006, Cochran voted, along with 19 Republican Senators, for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act to lift restrictions on federal funding for the research.
In 2005, he was one of nine senators who voted against the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibited "inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay". The others, all Republicans, were Wayne Allard, Kit Bond, Tom Coburn, Jeff Sessions, Jim Inhofe, Pat Roberts, John Cornyn and Ted Stevens.
In March 2009, his former aide, Ann Copland, pled guilty to swapping legislative favors for event tickets and other gifts from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Copland worked for Cochran for 29 years.9 Cochran has not been indicted for any charges in connection to Jack Abramoff.
Cochran opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,10 and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.11
In 2012, Cochran encouraged Mississippians to prepare for the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac, saying “Taking steps now to protect people and property should help lessen the losses that might be associated with Isaac. It is important that everyone stay informed and follow emergency orders. I am confident that Mississippians have learned valuable lessons from previous storms and will work together to prepare for this newest threat, I believe Governor Bryant and others are handling emergency preparedness actions very well.”13
In April 2013, Senator Cochran was one of forty-six senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for gun buyers. Cochran voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the passage of the bill.14
- The Natchez Trace Parkway Land Conveyance Act of 2013 (S. 304; 113th Congress) (S. 304) is a bill that was sponsored and actively lobbied for by Thad Cochran during the 113th United States Congress.1516 The bill would require the National Park Service (NPS) to convey about 67 acres of property in the Natchez Trace Parkway to the state of Mississippi. The legislation also would adjust the boundaries of the parkway to include 10 additional acres.17 The two pieces of land in question originally belong to Mississippi and were donated to the National Park Service when the NPS was trying to determine where to end the Natchez Trace Parkway.1815 Since the NPS did not choose to use either of theses pieces of land, the state would like the land back.18
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (Ranking Member)
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Defense (Ranking Member)
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Rules and Administration
- House/Senate International Education Study Group (Co-Chair)
- International Conservation Caucus
- Republican Task Force to Study the Energy Crisis
|Mississippi U.S. Senate Election, 197819|
|Independent||Henry Jay Kirksey||1,747||0.3|
|Mississippi U.S. Senate Election, 198420|
|Mississippi United States Senate election, 1990|
|Mississippi U.S. Senate Election, 199620|
|General election results21|
|General election results22|
- Strode, Tom (November 6, 2002). "Carnahan only Southern Baptist in Congress to lose election". Baptist Press. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
- Weeks, Linton (January 7, 1999). "Two From Ole Miss, Hitting It Big". The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.). p. C1. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
- "Ole Miss cheerleading squad". The Washington Post. January 8, 1999.
- Black, Earl; Merle Black (2003). The Rise of Southern Republicans. Harvard University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-674-01248-6.
- "Results of Elections Across the Nation". The Blade. November 7, 1978. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- Associated Press (December 27, 1978). "Eastland Quits Early To Aid His Successor". The Blade. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
- Committee On Rules - Announcements
- "Thad Cochran: The Quiet Persuader". Time. April 14, 2006. Archived from the original on February 13, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/03/10/washington/AP-Abramoff-Senate-Aide.html
|url=missing title (help).dead link
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Miss. Senator Leads Congress In Earmarks". WAPT. April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- "The Delta Farm Press - Cochran: Prepare now to lessen storm losses". The Delta Farm Press. The Delta Farm Press. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times.
- "Congress passes bill to give city 'bean field' property". Natchez Democrat. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "S. 304 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "CBO - S. 304". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "House Republican Conference's Legislative Digest on S 304". House Republican Conference. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "US Senate Election Official Certification". Mississippi Secretary of State. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thad Cochran.|
- Senator Thad Cochran official U.S. Senate site
- Senator Thad Cochran Re-election official 2014 campaign website
- Thad Cochran on the Open Directory Project
- An Unlikely Revolutionary, Part I and II, Interview and extensive background to comments by Perry Hicks for GulfCoastNews.com