Sen. Thad Cochran is up for reelection in 2020, and Republicans are desperate for him to stay in office and avoid a special election. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

One of the major atrocities that Mitch McConnell has inflicted upon the GOP — and Heaven knows he has inflicted a multitude of atrocities upon us — was meddling in the last senatorial race in Mississippi to elect the superannuated, demented, and adulterous Thad Cochran.

Since that time, Cochran has spent his time bumping into walls, acting as a paperweight, and being a sex toy for his mistress who is now Mrs. Cochran (try to get that image out of your mind). Oh, and chairing the Senate Appropriations Committee. Now his descent from senator to Living Dead extra has reached the stage where even McConnell can’t take it.

Sen. Thad Cochran, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, hasn’t presided over a hearing since early September. The Mississippi Republican has not given a speech on the Senate floor all year, and he’s introduced only two bills during that time, both of them minor.

To the extent that Cochran weighs in on any issue, it’s in the form of an official statement from his office or the appropriations panel. He has stopped meeting with anyone about substantive committee business, including other senators or House members, according to several sources familiar with his activities. Cochran’s aides deny this is the case.

The 80-year-old’s feeble performance has fueled expectations — among senators and aides who’ve witnessed his physical and mental decline firsthand — that Cochran will step down from the Appropriations chairmanship early next year, or resign from the Senate altogether.

“The understanding is that he will leave after Jan. 1,” said a Republican senator who serves on the Appropriations Committee. “That’s what most of us believe will happen.”

What this means is that Mississippi will elect two senators in November. The Mississippi governor can appoint a replacement for Cochran to serve until November and Roger Wicker is due for reelection at the same time.