Hyde-Smith tops Espy after racially-tinged Senate campaign

BREAKING: Republicans Win Mississippi Senate Race Despite Media Blitz, Report Says

Hyde-Smith, who originally was elected to the Mississippi State Senate as a Democrat, switched parties in 2010 and was elected state agriculture commissioner in 2011, the first woman elected to that office.

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith won Mississippi's Senate race against Democrat Mike Espy after joking about a "public hanging" in a state known for its lynchings.

Multiple sources, including the Associated Press, have called the race in favor of Hyde-Smith. Thad Cochran. A runoff was necessary because none of the candidates won more than 50 percent of the votes on Election Day.

Hyde-Smith's win is historic - she's the first woman to be elected to the Senate from Mississippi. 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".

Hyde-Smith and Espy were the top vote-getters among several candidates in a special election to replace retiring GOP Sen.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith speak to supporters during a Make America Great Again rally in Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S., November 26, 2018.

"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".

Democrats had hoped the furor over Hyde-Smith's alliances and beliefs might energize black voters in a state where about 35 percent of the electorate is African-American.

Espy, meanwhile, would have become Mississippi's first black senator since the era of Reconstruction. Remember her Republican opponent in round one was the even more conservative Chris McDaniel, whose voters would not be inclined to vote for Espy.

Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year after GOP Sen.

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In fact, Manfred has called on the FEC to create new guidelines which would make it easier for donors to take their money back should a incident arise like Hyde-Smith's remarks about attending a 'public hanging'. The comment stirred deep feelings in MS, where lynchings of black people were once commonplace.

However, she immediately insisted that "this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me".

In 2014, Hyde-Smith posted a picture on Facebook of herself wearing a replica of a Confederate army hat.

"The reason we won is because Mississippians know me, they know my heart", Hyde-Smith said Tuesday night. She accused Espy of twisting her words for political gain.

Hyde-Smith was the favorite in the solidly red state, and the final Senate election of 2018 was long seen as an afterthought. Trump attended two get-out-the-vote rallies in the state on Monday. He tried to recreate the coalition that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate win in neighboring Alabama past year by energizing black voters, particularly women, and winning support from white swing voters.

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