Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Backed candidate projected to win Mississippi Senate runoff

GettyImages-1065998470 BREAKING: Republicans Win Mississippi Senate Race Despite Media Blitz, Report Says
Gerardo Duncan | 30 November, 2018, 03:05

Hyde-Smith on Tuesday defeated Democrat Mike Espy, a former congressman and former USA agriculture secretary who was trying to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction.

Trump attended two get-out-the-vote rallies in MS on November 26, and extended his congratulations to Hyde-Smith after the race on Twitter, saying that he was "very proud" of her.

Cindy Hyde-Smith saw off her Democratic rival in a special run-off vote yesterday despite a controversial campaign in which she told a supporter she would go to a public hanging if he invited her.

Hyde-Smith was also helped by an election eve visit by President Trump, who held two rallies with her on Monday. "We still do have a very divided state". The final tally isn't in yet but with 88% of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith leads 54.8% to Espy's 45.2 percent.

"The state has a history of racially motivated lynchings, and the comment angered many voters. I talk to them as Mississippians-Mississippi young people who want to reduce their debt coming out of college, Mississippi young people who want to stay in this state, and not go to Atlanta and Dallas to get a good job", Espy said after voting.

Hyde-Smith, 59, is the first woman ever elected to either chamber of Congress from Mississippi. Hyde-Smith made some serious errors, but do they outweigh those of Espy? She initially called the public hanging remark "an exaggerated expression of regard".

Chances of a Democratic victory in Mississippi- a state Donald Trump won by almost 18 percentage points in the 2016 election and whose senior senator, Republican Roger Wicker, was re-elected by almost 20 points earlier this month - still appeared remote.

In the final weeks of the runoff, Ms Hyde-Smith's campaign said the remark about making voting hard was a joke.

"It's a huge significance, because if you look at Republican women across the nation and in our state we're not having the same gains in electing women as our colleagues in the Democratic party are", said state Sen. Most prominently, footage of remarks Hyde-Smith made earlier this month about being willing to attend a "public hanging" drew national attention. Thad Cochran who announced his retirement back in March. They also held onto the two Republican seats that were thought to be at least vaguely competitive (Mississippi and Tennessee) in states that were about as red. Hyde-Smith was already appointed to the Senate by Mississippi's Republican governor, Phil Bryant, after Cochran resigned but faced an election to fill the remainder of his term.

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, Leah Rupp Smith, said observers from the office were seeing "steady but slow" turnout the first few hours, but the pace picked up late in the day, with estimates that 30 to 40 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Hyde-Smith called her suppression comment a joke. "That really offended me", said Charles Connley, 60, a black voter from Picayune. The caption on the post read, "Mississippi history at its best!" She quickly pivoted to accusing her opponent of twisting her comment into a political attack against her.

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