By JEFF AMY
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi Democrat who was President Bill Clinton's first agriculture secretary is officially announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
Mike Espy is also Mississippi's first African-American elected to Congress since Reconstruction. He confirmed Friday that he'll run in a special election to finish the term started by longtime Republican Thad Cochran.
Espy previously had announced a "strong intention" to run. He says that like Cochran, he wants to rise above partisan politics to appeal to all Mississippians.
Cochran retired Sunday, citing poor health.
Gov. Phil Bryant appointed fellow Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith to temporarily succeed Cochran. She will be sworn in Monday and will run in a nonpartisan special election in November.
Besides Hyde-Smith and Espy, Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Democratic Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton are also running.