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

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In Tuesday's race, 59-year-old Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy, a former US agriculture secretary who hoped to become Mississippi's first African-American senator since Reconstruction. But when video surfaced earlier this month of the senator telling a supporter, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row", the state's racial wounds were re-opened.

Trump, who visited MS, a state he won by 18 points in the 2016 presidential election, on Monday for rallies supporting Hyde-Smith's campaign, congratulated her on the win on Twitter late Tuesday.

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

Hyde-Smith won by depicting Democrat Mike Espy as too liberal for Mississippi.

For Janice Sandefur, a 60-year-old clinical social worker, the election resurrected memories of the all-white school that her parents sent her to, just like Hyde-Smith, where the mascot was the Confederates.

The Hyde-Smith and Espy runoff was tainted by race-related controversies. My feelings on her are best expressed by the above video, ' wrote a pregnant Schumer, who in the accompanying video could be seen vomiting.

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.

Hyde-Smith's "public hanging" remark had caused her financial prowess to dwindle, as Walmart, Major League Baseball, AT&T and other corporate entities asked her to return campaign donations.

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"Mississippi was one of the last two states to have never elected a woman to Congress", said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, according to USA Today. Thad Cochran stepped down earlier this year.

Her supporters said the furore over her comments was overblown.

Espy was hoping that the controversy around Hyde-Smith's remarks would lead to a replay of the Alabama special election in 2017 where Democrat Doug Jones won a narrow victory against Roy Moore by wooing Republicans appalled by their party's nominee with moderate rhetoric.

The runoff to serve the last two years of former Republican Senator Thad Cochran's term was necessary because neither Espy nor Hyde-Smith gained more than 50 percent of the vote in a November 6 special election with four candidates.

Her victory means Republicans will hold a 53-47 majority in the new US Senate that convenes in January. 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.

Trump himself has also become far more engaged, calling Hyde-Smith last week to express concern about her flailing campaign.

Espy, an attorney, said: "I found out later that this guy, the president, was a really bad guy".

Espy resigned the Cabinet post in 1994 amid a special counsel investigation that accused him of improperly accepting gifts. Mississippi's dark history of lynching is still a contentious issue and one that all decent folks would be wise to avoid making gags about.