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GOP Sen. Thad Cochran to resign April 1

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran (R) announced Monday that he will resign, citing health concerns. He will leave the Senate on April 1.

"I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge," said Cochran, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle."

Politico reported in December that the 80-year-old senator's future was in doubt, after Cochran spent several weeks in the hospital due to complications from a urinary tract infection. ThinkProgress' Ian Milhiser pointed out that Cochran's retirement presents a conundrum for Republicans, noting that Democratic Sen. Doug Jones' surprise victory in the Alabama special election in December means that "a Dem can win in Mississippi."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) will appoint a replacement to fill Cochran's seat until a special election later this year. Mississippi's other senator, Roger Wicker (R), is also up for re-election this fall. Read Cochran's full statement below. Kimberly Alters