Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Republicans Win Mississippi Senate Race Despite Media Blitz, Report Says

Republican wins US Senate runoff in Mississippi BREAKING: Republicans Win Mississippi Senate Race Despite Media Blitz, Report Says
Andrew Cummings | 30 November, 2018, 02:20

Given Mississippi's recent pro-Republican complexion (it's been a long time since a Democrat won a Senate, gubernatorial or presidential election there) and history of racial polarization, the idea of an African-American Democrat like Espy winning seemed remote, even though Hyde-Smith ran a bad campaign marked by serial gaffes of a racially inflammatory nature.

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith has won a divisive race for the Mississippi Senate seat, surviving a video-recorded remark decried as racist.

The runoff election in MS between the two highest vote-getters in the November 6 midterm elections gained a high-degree of national attention because of the many controversial statements and actions made by Hyde-Smith in the weeks leading up to the election.

"Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi", Trump tweeted Tuesday night.

The rhetorical gaffe that got the most attention was an off-hand comment about being willing to sit in the front row of a hanging that Hyde-Smith made a couple weeks ago.

In the final weeks of the runoff, Hyde-Smith's campaign said the remark about making voting hard was a joke.

President Donald Trump endorsed Hyde-Smith and rallied for her after the comments became public. The outcome gives Republicans a 53-to-47 majority in the Senate, while Democrats will take control of the House after gaining at least 39 seats.

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Chances of a Democratic victory in Mississippi- a state Donald Trump won by almost 18 percentage points in the 2016 election and whose senior senator, Republican Roger Wicker, was re-elected by almost 20 points earlier this month - still appeared remote. Hyde-Smith should be asking themselves.

Hyde-Smith is a former state agriculture and commerce commissioner who was appointed in April by the state's governor after the sudden retirement of Republican Senator Thad Cochran for health reasons.

The video sparked a furor in a state with a history of racism and violence against blacks, including lynchings, and fueled Democratic hopes of an upset in a state where 38 percent of the population is black. 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. He tried to recreate a coalition that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate win in neighboring Alabama previous year by energizing black voters, particularly women, and winning support from white swing voters.

She initially refused to apologize for the hanging remark, but said in a debate last week that she was sorry "for anyone that was offended".

Her supporters said the furore over her comments was overblown. The caption on the post read, "Mississippi history at its best!"

She was leading Espy 55 to 44 percent with 77 percent of the state's precinct's reporting, according to the Associated Press.

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

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