GOP Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Re-election in Mississippi Despite Racial Controversy

Republicans Increase Senate Majority – Why Aren’t the Left Celebrating

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democratic challenger Mike Espy to retain the Mississippi Senate seat she was appointed to earlier this year, according to the Associated Press.

Hyde-Smith led former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D) by 56 percent to 44 percent with 76 percent of precincts reporting.

Hyde-Smith was the favorite in the solidly red state, and the final Senate election of 2018 was long seen as an afterthought.

"To the lawless caravans and illegal trespassers marching toward our border, it is very simple: Turn back now, go back home, we will not let you in", Trump said.

"She has my prayers as she goes to Washington to unite a very divided Mississippi", Espy said. As the large projector screen showed a reporter from Fox News calling the election for Hyde-Smith, the room erupted in cheers. In and itself that is not necessarily problematic, but the caption Hyde-Smith posted below the photo, presumably written by her, clearly said that Confederate artifacts and weapons represent "Mississippi history at its best!" Hyde-Smith was heavily criticized after video footage emerged of her saying of a supporter in Tupelo, Mississippi, "if he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row".

"That comment hurt her", Hayes Dent, Republican strategist and former U.S. House hopeful, told us.

Several companies that had donated to Hyde-Smith's campaign, including Walmart, publicly withdrew their support for the senator over the "public hanging" comment.

"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".

Hyde-Smith's victory secures the party's 53rd Senate seat for the next two years, compared to 47 for Democrats, up from the current 51-49 Republican majority.

Hyde-Smith appeared likely to coast to election after November 8, when she took 42 percent of the vote to Espy's 41 percent and Tea Party-aligned Chris McDaniel's (R) 17 percent in the all-party primary. She said she was joking in each instance.

Hyde-Smith was in her second term as MS agriculture commissioner when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to temporarily succeed GOP Sen.

The controversies surrounding her set off a major push by national Republicans to avoid the same embarrassment they'd suffered past year in Alabama over the Senate campaign of Roy Moore and save Hyde-Smith.

"We are so locked into the concept of tradition as in heritage; I'm sure I had relatives who fought in the Civil War". Espy talked often about the comment during the runoff. Hyde-Smith got 55% of the vote and Espy got 45%. Those turned out to be a form of protest against Hyde-Smith, thought that wasn't clear when the story was first reported. Espy was acquitted of all charges.

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