He lived 81 years and spent more than half of them serving in Washington. Mississippi's Thad Cochran has died after retiring from the Senate last year because of health issues. The Republican Cochran was elected to the House in 1972, and then the Senate in 1978. His 39 years in the latter chamber make him one of the longest-serving senators, notes Roll Call. The AP reports that Cochran was known for his "gentlemanly manner" and his prowess in getting federal aid for his home state. He led the powerful Appropriations Committee in 2005-06 and regained the post in 2015.
"Thad Cochran was a giant in the United States Senate and one of the greatest champions Mississippi has ever known," said Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker. The assessment from Politico: Cochran "was a throwback from a more genteel era of American politics, rarely engaging the brutal fights and pitched partisanship of today's modern-day Senate." President Trump took note of his death: "Very sad to hear the news on the passing of my friend," Trump tweeted. "He was a real Senator with incredible values - even flew back to Senate from Mississippi for important Healthcare Vote when he was desperately ill. Thad never let our Country (or me) down!"