WASHINGTON — Three Mississippi Republicans say the state’s governor will appoint Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill the Senate vacancy that will soon be created when veteran Sen. Thad Cochran retires.

Hyde-Smith is the state’s agriculture commissioner. She will be Mississippi’s first female U.S. senator.

Once appointed, Hyde-Smith would immediately run for re-election for the nearly three years remaining in Cochran’s term. That special election will be Nov. 6.

Hyde-Smith is expected to be backed by the national and Mississippi GOP establishment against challenges from insurgent Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Democrats.

One source said Gov. Phil Bryant was expected to announce his selection of Hyde-Smith as early as Wednesday.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the record before the announcement.

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