December 19, 2013 9:34:34 AM
JACKSON -- Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's chief of staff is leaving to become campaign manager for Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.
Kirk Sims was policy director when Bryant was lieutenant governor, starting in 2008. He managed Bryant's 2011 gubernatorial campaign and became chief of staff when Bryant took office in January 2012.
Sims is a son-in-law of Mississippi's other Republican U.S. senator, Roger Wicker.
Cochran was elected to the Senate in 1978, after serving six years in the House. As he seeks another six-year term, he's being challenged in the June primary by Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
No Democrat has entered the race yet.
Bryant's deputy chief of staff, Lucien Smith, will move into the top job on the governor's staff. Smith ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2011.