Lucien Smith, chair of the state Republican Party

Lucien Smith, Gov. Phil Bryant’s former chief of staff, is the new chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, the Associated Press reports.

He was selected Thursday by the state party executive committee.

Smith succeeds Joe Nosef, who stepped down abruptly last week after six years as chairman.

Smith, who is in private law practice, ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2011. He served in Gov. Haley Barbour’s administration as a staff attorney.