Mississippi Goes To… Cindy Hyde-Smith
“She won with character and dignity – something her opponents know little of,” Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
The 2018 election is finally over now that Mississippi has decided on its next Senator: Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. Hyde-Smith was appointed last April by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to fill Senator Thad Cochran’s seat, who retired due to health concerns, until an election could be held last November.
Tuesday’s runoff was held because neither Hyde-Smith nor her Democratic challenger Mike Espy won 50 percent or more of the vote on November 6. However, in the runoff Hyde-Smith had received 56 percent of the vote when the Associated Press called the election with over three-quarters of precincts reporting.
While Mississippi is considered a Republican stronghold, Hyde-Smith’s hold on the race went from certain to in contention due to multiple controversial comments she made in recent weeks, including a remark about public hangings in a state with a history of racial tensions and lynching of black people.
At a campaign rally on November 2, in Tupelo, Mississippi Hyde-Smith introduced a supporter by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy. pic.twitter.com/0a9jOEjokr
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 11, 2018
Hyde-Smith also made more controversial comments on November 3 at a campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi which her critics have called a support for voter suppression.
In another recorded video she said, “there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote.” She also added, “maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult.”
Her remarks were controversial enough that both Walmart and Major League Baseball requested she refund their campaign contributions.
Adding to the racial tension in the race, seven nooses were found hanging from trees on the grounds of the Mississippi state capital building. The nooses were accompanied by signs that referenced the state’s history of racial discrimination.
One sign read, “On Tuesday Nov. 27, thousands of Mississippians will vote for a senator. We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims”
Another sign read, “We’re hanging nooses to remind people that times haven’t changed.”
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant applauded Hyde-Smith’s victory on Twitter, saying, “She won with character and dignity – something her opponents know little of.”
Cindy Hyde-Smith has come through the crucible of the most negative campaign in modern Mississippi. She won with character and dignity—something her opponents know little of. She will continue to serve as the first woman from Mississippi elected to the United States Congress. ?? pic.twitter.com/97EPOafW7V
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) November 28, 2018