Divisive race in Mississippi ends with win for GOP Sen. Hyde-Smith

Hannah Rogers
November 30, 2018

With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith led with 56 percent of the vote, to 44 percent for Espy.

However, given that MS has been a solidly Republican state in modern elections, it is certainly notable that Espy received a considerable share of the vote. Officials said roughly 800,000 votes were cast.

A runoff election was forced after neither candidate won a majority on Election Day.

Espy followed the strategy of moderation that now-Sen. However, Hyde-Smith's comments did not have the same electoral impact as the allegations of sexual assault against Moore did in Alabama. "When this many people show up, stand up and speak up, it is not a loss".

Democrats had hoped a surge in turnout among black voters - who make up almost 40% of Mississippi's population, the largest share in the nation - could carry Espy to victory in a state that is highly polarized along racial lines, with most white voters backing GOP candidates and black voters supporting Democrats. But if black voters rise to 40 percent of the electorate and Espy wins 9 out of 10, he needs less than a quarter of white votes for victory.

Therefore in a political environment in which Democrats are winning the national vote by high single digits, we wouldn't expect a Democrat to win a Senate seat in Mississippi.

Having been heavily favored to win the reliably Republican state, Hyde-Smith became engulfed in a political storm over a video showing her praising a supporter at a November 2 event by saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".

Her supporters said the furore over her comments was overblown.

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Hyde-Smith offered a brief apology to anyone who may have been offended.

Several businesses, including giant retailer Walmart, had demanded Hyde-Smith return their donations after her public hanging remark.

President Donald Trump, seemingly anxious to cap off the 2018 midterm election season with a Republican upset, urged voters on Tuesday to turn out for Hyde-Smith, the embattled Republican who has faced mounting backlash over racially divisive incidents that surfaced in the weeks following the general election.

I am hesitant to label anyone a racist given the complexities involved with determining a person's intent.

But Hyde-Smith leaned into her Trump allegiance hard.

In photos posted to her Facebook account in 2014, Hyde-Smith was pictured posing with Confederate artifacts during a visit to Beauvoir, the home and library of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

She vowed in her victory speech to represent all Mississippians. He was tried and acquitted on 30 corruption charges, but the Mississippi Republican Party ran an ad this year that called Espy "too corrupt for the Clintons" and "too liberal for Mississippi". Yet I am sure that it is not our country's history, nor the state's history at its best. Hyde-Smith's daughter later attended a similar private school established around the same time, according to the Free Press. Speaking to reporters later, she said Trump had called to congratulate her and said she'd "been through a storm" and "survived it with grace".

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