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Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff

Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff

Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy, who was vying to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction, during Tuesday's runoff.

The polls had her heavily favored in the reliably Republican state, but she became engulfed in a political storm over a video showing her praising a supporter at an event by saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".

Trump remains exceedingly popular there with most of the state's white voters, and attended a pair of rallies on her behalf on election eve to make sure GOP turnout didn't drop off enough to put her in real jeopardy.

"Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi. We are all very proud of you!" he tweeted. He tried to recreate the coalition that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate win in neighboring Alabama past year by energizing black voters, particularly women, and winning support from white swing voters.

"While this same-sex couple's request for a permit to utilize one of our state's facilities for a "commitment ceremony" is not being defined as a marriage ceremony, it is personally troubling for me", she said at the time, citing her "personal and religious beliefs".

A week before the runoff election to decide who would permanently fill the seat Hyde-Smith was appointed to after longtime Sen.

Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy to win Tuesday's runoff. Thad Cochran's term, which expires in 2020. The GOP grew its majority in the Senate by two seats in this year's midterm elections even as Democrats took control of the House. But based on Espy's experience this year, it is a good bet to say his supporters will "tone it down" on race and on Mississippi's controversial history on the issue in 2019.

Her supporters said the furore over her comments was overblown.

She vowed in her victory speech to represent all Mississippians. Politico unearthed a 2014 post on Hyde-Smith's Facebook page that included a photo of her wearing a Confederate soldier's hat and holding a rifle during a visit to Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi. Perhaps the Democrats should count themselves lucky that not only did the people of MS dodge a bullet, but they have unwittingly cut off one avenue of attack that would shame them all.

Hyde-Smith's "public hanging" remark had caused her financial prowess to dwindle, as Walmart, Major League Baseball, AT&T and other corporate entities asked her to return campaign donations.

Hyde-Smith offered a brief apology to anyone who may have been offended.

The video sparked a furor in a state with a history of racism and violence against blacks, including lynchings, and fueled Democratic hopes of an upset in a state where 38 percent of the population is black. She quickly pivoted to accusing her opponent of twisting her comment into a political attack against her. She initially called the public hanging remark "an exaggerated expression of regard".


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