JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - After 36 years in the United States Senate, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran is headed back for more, but this time he will likely gain a large leadership role.
Senator Cochran, 76, is slated to be named chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"No matter who you voted for, I want you to know that I'm committed to doing my best to represent Mississippi in the United States Senate and to reflect credit on our state," said Cochran in a victory speech Tuesday night at the Mississippi Children's Museum in Jackson.
Cochran currently serves as the vice-chairman of the Appropriations' subcommittee on Defense.
Even though Sen. Cochran will return to a Republican-controlled Senate for his seventh term, his job will be cut out for him as appropriations Chairman.
"There's not a lot of trust right now," said U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R- MS 3rd District) of the administration and Senate. "What this does is it creates a buffer and an opportunity to do things in regular order with the House and the Senate being in Republican control."
Harper also defended his seat Tuesday, along with Reps. Steven Palazzo (R- MS 4th Dist.), Bennie Thompson (D- MS 2nd Dist.) and Alan Nunnelee (R- MS 1st Dist.).
Cochran faced what has been considered his biggest contender in state senator Chris McDaniel during the Republican primary and runoff, and he did not get far into his nearly four minute speech without mentioning those races.
"As we all know, it's been a long and interesting campaign," said Cochran in between laughs from the crowd and elected officials on stage. "I'm glad it's over, and I know you are, too."
Questions have raised over the course of Cochran's campaign for re-election of whether he will fulfill all six years of his seventh term.
"I hope so," he laughed as he was surrounded by supporters Tuesday. "I'm going to try to stay healthy and alert and effective."
Although he has never given a solid 'yes' in the past to the media who have asked the senator of his capability to fulfill the term, Governor Phil Bryant did not hesitate to answer.
"I haven't even thought about who might be appointed because I intend to see Sen. Cochran serve and be there at his retirement party six years from now," he said.
Cochran defeated Democrat Travis Childers with 60.4 percent of the vote, or 370,028 votes.