Sen: Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeats Democratic challenger Mike Espy in runoff

30 November, 2018, 03:03 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • BREAKING: Republicans Win Mississippi Senate Race Despite Media Blitz, Report Says

In the last few weeks of her campaign, Hyde-Smith held few events and generally avoided speaking with the press.

"When you have a three-vote cushion it's a great help", Roger Wicker, Mississippi's other senator, also a Republican, said in an interview.

Donald Trump, who held a rally in Tupelo in support of Hyde-Smith, congratulated her on Twitter, saying he was "very proud".

All of that helped the former state agriculture commissioner tiresome Espy's efforts to paint her as someone who would take the state backwards.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to the Senate in April to replace Sen. Thad Cochran's six-year term.

The runoff to serve the last two years of former Republican Senator Thad Cochran's term was triggered after neither Espy nor Hyde-Smith secured more than half of the vote needed to settle the November 6 special election.

The AP has called the runoff for Hyde-Smith, more or less officially putting a cap on the evening.

This was a runoff election to fill the seat vacated by Sen.

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During the fallout from her "public hanging" comment, Hyde-Smith agreed to debate Espy in a private room devoid of reporters.

The public outcry against her marks was loud and angry and "moved the dial" to Espy, according to political columnist Geoff Pender of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. The comments from Hyde-Smith, who is white, were quickly seized upon by Espy, who was vying to become not only the first Democrat the state had elected to the Senate in almost four decades, but also the first African-American senator from the state since Reconstruction. An ad from his campaign released that day said, "We can't afford a senator who embarrasses us and reinforces the stereotypes we've worked so hard to overcome".

Some corporate donors, including Walmart, requested refunds on their campaign contributions to Hyde-Smith after the videos surfaced.

In photos posted to her Facebook account in 2014, Hyde-Smith was pictured posing with Confederate artifacts during a visit to Beauvoir, the home and library of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Not only is Hyde-Smith the first female to be elected to the Senate from the state, she is also the only candidate in this hard-fought election to have not received funding from Ivory Coast warlords.

Hyde-Smith was the heavy favorite in MS, which President Donald Trump won by 18 points in 2016 and hasn't elected a Democratic senator in decades. Yet this was not enough to sway the electorate towards Mike Espy, whose own sins are far more damaging. Hyde-Smith won 61% of the vote in her prior statewide race for Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.

Her comments, and the backlash to them, made Mississippi's history of lynchings and violent suppression of black voting rights a theme of the runoff and spurred many black voters to return to the polls. Espy would have been the first African-American elected from the state since Reconstruction.

While Espy didn't win, the strategy of moderation that he and Jones followed is one Democrats must continue if they hope for the party to become less toxic in rural areas. The campaign knocked on over 100,000 doors and volunteers made over 600,000 phone calls, just for the runoff.

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