Hyde-Smith Hangs On For Senate Win In Spite Of Controversies

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Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democratic challenger Mike Espy in the state's runoff Senate election on Tuesday night, according to reports.

Hyde-Smith's win over Espy, who was also a former three-term congressman, came a day after campaign rallies by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Biloxi and Tupelo.

Along with the joke in which the Republican said she'd attend a "public hanging" at the behest of a friend she admired, other facts about Hyde-Smith - including that she and her child both attended all-white schools sometimes referred to as "seg academies" - have made race a deciding factor in her runoff election against her black Democratic opponent.

USA media projected that Hyde-Smith would defeat her black challenger in a campaign that recalled the state's history of racist violence. A separate video showed her talking about "liberal folks" and making it "just a little more difficult" for them to vote.

The Democratic candidate would have been the first black person elected to the Senate from MS since Reconstruction if he had defeated Hyde-Smith. 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, the white former state lawmaker who was appointed to the Senate in April, overcame a controversy after her comment on public hangings.

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Speaking to supporters after her win, Ms Hyde-Smith vowed to fight for everyone in the state when she goes to Washington. And it was revealed that she'd attended a private high school that was created to avoid desegregation - and sent her daughter to one as well. The GOP lost control of the House, where Democrats will assume the majority in January.

"Mr. President, thank you so much for all of your help", Hyde-Smith said in a victory speech to supporters, reiterating her win was a triumph for conservative values.

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.' She accused Espy of twisting her words for political gain. However, in 2018, it is deeply troubling to hear the term "public hanging" being used in this context by a senator, particularly given the division in our politics.

The contest gained national attention after Hyde-Smith triggered an uproar with remarks that critics denounced as racist and which led some prominent donors like Walmart Inc. and Major League Baseball to ask for refunds. She is the first woman to hold a Senate seat in the state - and is now the first woman elected to the Senate in Mississippi. There were four candidates on the ballot on November 6. Thad Cochran stepped down due to health issues.

"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.

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