Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins 2018 Senate Race in Mississippi

Republican Senator Cindy Hyde Smith has won Mississippi’s US Senate runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy

The Cook Political Report was the first to make the call late on Tuesday night, tweeting: "Projection: Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) has defeated Mike Espy (D) in the #MSSEN runoff".

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.

Hyde-Smith, 59, finished first in the general election among four candidates on November 6, but did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, which triggered the runoff.

"Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi".

The additional help came after Hyde-Smith's campaign was rocked by revelation of her remarks at an event where she told a supporter that if he invited her "to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".

He campaigned for her during her Senate runoff against Democrat Mike Espy.

Following her victory, President Donald Trump paid tribute to the candidate, who received his constant backing.

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It's not entirely clear whether Trump's last minute visit to MS made any difference. With almost all precincts tallied, Hyde-Smith led by nearly 8 percentage points.

Polls show four-term State Attorney Jim Hood defeating any Republican hopeful and becoming the state's first Democratic governor in 16 years. Her ongoing scandals gave Democrats legitimate hopes of flipping one more red seat in the deep South.

"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. Thad Cochran, the former Appropriations Committee chairman who retired in April due to health concerns.

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. She later called the comments an "exaggerated expression of regard", but her use of the phrase brought memories of Mississippi's history of lynchings to the forefront and put the contest under the national microscope. Even Republicans say she badly mishandled the fallout, refusing to apologize for more than a week before issuing a quasi-apology to "anyone that was offended" during her debate with Espy. They also stuck by her as a photo was circulated of her wearing a replica Confederate military hat during a 2014 visit to Beauvoir, the last home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

Additionally, when Hyde-Smith was in school she attended a whites-only segregated academy, set up by parents to avoid racially integrated schools.

The runoff contest drew comparisons to the Alabama Senate special election a year ago, when Democrat Doug Jones won a narrow victory against Roy Moore, after the Republican faced multiple accusations from women that he had molested them when they were teenagers.

Cindy: 'I guess what I'm really saying is F*** Hyde-Smith and anyone who voted for her.

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