Republicans win final midterm Senate race
by Harvest Prude
Posted 11/28/18, 10:57 am
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith survived controversy Tuesday to win the U.S. Senate special election runoff in Mississippi, defeating Democratic challenger Mike Espy by 12 percentage points. Her victory allows Republicans to close the book on the Senate midterm elections with a 53-47 majority. The top two candidates in the race were forced into a runoff when neither earned more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 6.
Hyde-Smith faced accusations of racism and insensitivity for comments she made at a public campaign event where she praised cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson, one of her supporters. “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Hyde-Smith said. She initially said he remarks were made in jest but later apologized for giving offense.
President Donald Trump, who carried the state by 18 points in the 2016 presidential election, boosted her campaign by holding two rallies on the eve of the runoff. Late Tuesday, he tweeted his congratulations for the “big WIN.”
“I will work very hard and do my very best to make Mississippi very proud,” Hyde-Smith told supporters Tuesday night. She is the state’s first elected female senator. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran’s retirement in April. She will finish out the remaining two years of Cochran’s term.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.