Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith wins Mississippi US Senate runoff amid racial controversies


Hyde-Smith will defeat Democratic challenger Mike Espy, a former congressman and agriculture secretary, within the final Senate race to be determined in 2018. The victory will make her the primary girl ever elected to Congress from Mississippi.

Her win on Tuesday means Republicans will maintain 53 seats to Democrats’ 47 seats within the Senate in January. The GOP grew its majority within the Senate by two seats on this 12 months’s midterm elections at the same time as Democrats took management of the Home.

Hyde-Smith’s victory additionally signifies that there can be 24 ladies within the Senate subsequent 12 months. That may set a brand new document for ladies serving within the Senate, yet another than the present excessive, set throughout this Congress.

Hyde-Smith will end out the ultimate two years of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s time period, who retired earlier this 12 months attributable to well being issues. Hyde-Smith should run once more in 2020 to serve a full six-year time period.

President Donald Trump visited Mississippi on Monday to rally Republican voters behind Hyde-Smith after her feedback a few “public hanging” set off weeks of controversy.

It started when video emerged on-line of her telling supporters earlier this month that she’d be “on the entrance row” if certainly one of her supporters “invited me to a public hanging.” She later referred to as the feedback an “exaggerated expression of regard,” however her use of the phrase introduced reminiscences of Mississippi’s historical past of lynchings to the forefront and put the competition below the nationwide microscope.

Requested about her comment in a debate, Hyde-Smith mentioned she would “definitely apologize” to anybody who was offended, however then pivoted to an assault on her opponent.

“This remark was twisted and it was become a weapon for use towards me,” Hyde-Smith mentioned.

The race to control the Senate in 2020 has already started

Hyde-Smith’s feedback prompted deeper dives into her historical past.

The identical progressive blogger who revealed the video of her utilizing the phrase “public hanging” later revealed one by which Hyde-Smith informed a small group at Mississippi State College that suppressing the votes of scholars at different faculties was “an ideal factor.” Her marketing campaign mentioned it was a joke, however that clarification backfired when the black pupil seen laughing in an image from the occasion her marketing campaign posted on Twitter responded that Hyde-Smith’s marketing campaign was utilizing him as a prop.

On Friday, the Jackson Free Press reported that Hyde-Smith had attended a non-public highschool that was based in 1970 in order that white dad and mom may keep away from makes an attempt to combine public colleges. Hyde-Smith’s daughter later attended the same non-public faculty established across the similar time, in accordance with the Free Press. The senator’s marketing campaign responded to the report by attacking the “liberal media.”

Over the weekend, CNN reported that Hyde-Smith as soon as promoted a measure that praised a Accomplice soldier’s effort to “defend his homeland” and had pushed a revisionist view of the Civil Warfare.

In pictures posted to her Fb account in 2014, Hyde-Smith was pictured posing with Accomplice artifacts throughout a go to to Beauvoir, the house and library of Accomplice President Jefferson Davis. The caption on the put up learn, “Mississippi historical past at its greatest!”

Democrats had hoped a surge in turnout amongst black voters — who make up practically 40% of Mississippi’s inhabitants, the most important share within the nation — may carry Espy to victory in a state that’s extremely polarized alongside racial traces, with most white voters backing GOP candidates and black voters supporting Democrats.

Espy’s marketing campaign hammered Hyde-Smith with tv advertisements that forged her as a humiliation to a state that has tried to beat its historical past of slavery and racism.

“We have labored laborious to beat the stereotypes that harm our financial system and price us jobs. Her phrases mustn’t mirror Mississippi’s values, both,” a narrator mentioned in a single advert. The advert additionally referred to as Hyde-Smith “so embarrassing, she’d be a catastrophe for Mississippi.”

A number of corporations that had donated to Hyde-Smith’s marketing campaign, together with Walmart, publicly withdrew their assist for the senator over the “public hanging” remark.

The controversies surrounding her set off a serious push by nationwide Republicans to keep away from the identical embarrassment they’d suffered final 12 months in Alabama over the Senate marketing campaign of Roy Moore and save Hyde-Smith.

Whereas Hyde-Smith largely stayed off the marketing campaign path, the celebration’s infrastructure rallied to her protection. GOP teams spent $four million on the Mississippi runoff — way more than Democrats’ $1.2 million, in accordance with Federal Election Fee filings. Republican teams spent greater than twice as a lot as Democrats on tv ads, per the advert monitoring agency Kantar/CMAG.

Trump’s visits to Mississippi on Monday evening have been additionally seen as bid to rally the Republican base to vote in an election going down two days after the Thanksgiving weekend.

CNN’s Adam Levy contributed to this report.

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