Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran quietly married his longtime aide over the holiday weekend. The private ceremony took place in Gulfport. During Cochran’s 2014 campaign, staffers denied that the Senator and his aide, Kay Webber, were romantically involved.
A campaign spokesperson at the time said Webber “is a member of the staff and a trusted aide, and any other suggestion is silly gossip.”
Webber has worked for Cochran since 1981 and currently serves as his executive assistant. Except for a one-line statement released about the wedding, the Senator’s office has remained quiet regarding the nuptials.
Speculation linking the Senator and his aide occurred during Cochran’s tough primary race against Sen. Chris McDaniel. Supporters of McDaniel pointed to the numerous trips Cochran and Webber would take together overseas, as well as the fact that Cochran rented out the basement unit in a Washington, D.C. rowhouse owned by Webber. The primary race ended up being very close.
The race between Cochran and McDaniel was so close that it went to a three-week runoff election, which Cochran ultimately won, in part due to support from African-American voters who rejected the tea party-aligned McDaniel, who was being backed by outside conservative groups.
McDaniel serves as a Senator in the Mississippi State Senate.
Cochran’s first wife, Rose Cochran, died in December 2014. She suffered from dementia and had been in an assisted living facility for the last 13 years.
[CNN] [Jackson Clarion-Ledger] [Associated Press] [Photo via James Edward Bates Photography]