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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won a divisive Mississippi runoff Tuesday, surviving a video-recorded remark decried as racist and defeating a former federal official who hoped to become the state’s first African-American senator since Reconstruction.

The runoff was rocked by the video, in which Hyde-Smith said of a supporter, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” A separate video showed her talking about “liberal folks” and making it “just a little more difficult” for them to vote.

The comments by Hyde-Smith, who is white, made Mississippi’s history of racist lynchings a theme of the runoff and spurred many black voters to return to the polls Tuesday.

In the aftermath of the video, Republicans worried they could face a repeat of last year’s special election in Alabama, in which a flawed Republican candidate handed Democrats a reliable GOP Senate seat in the Deep South. The GOP pumped resources into Mississippi, and President Donald Trump made a strong effort on behalf of Hyde-Smith, holding last-minute rallies in Mississippi on Monday.

Her supporters said the furor over her comments was overblown. 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.

“So many things are taken out of context,” said Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, from Diamondhead, Mississippi. “The fact that she toured Jefferson Davis’s house. You or I could have done the same thing. They said, ‘Put this cap on. Hold this gun.’ It was a fun time. She wasn’t trying to send any messages.”

The contest caps a campaign season that exposed persistent racial divisions in America — and the willingness of some political candidates to exploit them to win elections. With Hyde-Smith’s victory, Republicans control 53 of the Senate’s 100 seats. The GOP lost control of the House, where Democrats will assume the majority in January.

In the final weeks of the runoff, Hyde-Smith’s campaign said the remark about making voting difficult was a joke. She said the “public hanging” comment was “an exaggerated expression of regard” for a fellow cattle rancher. During a televised debate nine days after the video was publicized, she apologized to “anyone that was offended by my comments,” but also said the remark was used as a “weapon” against her.

Democratic opponent Mike Espy, 64, a former U.S. agriculture secretary, replied: “I don’t know what’s in your heart, but I know what came out of your mouth.”

Addressing his supporters Tuesday night, Espy said: “While this is not the result we were hoping for, I am proud of the historic campaign we ran and grateful for the support we received across Mississippi. We built the largest grassroots organization our state has seen in a generation.”

The “public hanging” comment also resonated with his supporters.

Some corporate donors, including Walmart, requested refunds on their campaign contributions to Hyde-Smith after the videos surfaced.

Hyde-Smith was in her second term as Mississippi agriculture commissioner when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to temporarily succeed GOP Sen. Thad Cochran. The longtime lawmaker retired in April amid health concerns.

The win makes Hyde-Smith, 59, the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi.

Hyde-Smith and Espy emerged from a field of four candidates Nov. 6 to advance to Tuesday’s runoff. Her win allows her to complete the final two years of Cochran’s six-year term.

Shortly after the win Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi. We are all very proud of you!”

____

Associated Press writers Jeff Amy and Janet McConnaughey contributed to this report.

 

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26 thoughts on “Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Runoff For Senate In Mississippi

  1. jhuf: Mississippi is one of the poorest, and least educated states in the country (and oh yes your president said he loves the uneducated…..so MS would be right up his alley). And probably has more people on welfare, and food stamps than all the hope and change people combined. Sooooooo overall exactly what do the Mississippians do for employment?? Oh yeah…..work at casinos. I can’t help but wonder if you are a troll because otherwise why are you defending these what appears by most reports to be losers on so many levels

    • poorest compared to what? YOU do know that California is the homeless capital of the country
      it also ranks just slightly above MS in k-12 education rankings yet CA spends 3 times as much per child.
      and you might want to stop parroting those liberal talking points regarding MS and educate yourself (since many of those manufacturing jobs from the liberal north moved to the south MS included) Cotton, poultry, cattle, catfish, soybeans, dairy products, rice,Apparel, furniture, lumber and wood products, food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment are all thriving industrys in MS

    • americanize on said:

      @ kelli you don’t have to wonder jpuff is a white supremacist troll,there are a few more but if you come on this site more than once you will see the racist trolls,faking like there black.

  2. Well now you gonna get what you DUMB ASS BLK MISSISSIPPIANS deserve cause you let that RACIST SHEDEVIL BITCH WIN.As I said the WHITE BITCH don”t youall and will NEVER like you.THE BITCH avoided bffore and will SURELY avoid YOUR DUMB ASSES now.So be ready TO RETURN TO THE DAYS OF JIM CROW because the CRACKER you let get in there is gonna take you there.I feel no MERCY for ya!.YOU SAT ON YOUR FAT ASSES and let it happen Enjoy the FUCKED UP RIDE and don’t say the WORLD did” tell you so.GOOD LUCK with the BITCH hope she doesn”t GET TO HANG YA!!!!!!!!!

    • r jones on said:

      You should be saying that to the white people that didn’t vote for the black man we needed the white vote too so take some of that anger out on some white folks!!

  3. Remember the end of the Bush era? Ted your comment was right on target. The REPULSIVES led their supporters, like sheep over a cliff. They all suffered. Poor trash, the wealthy. They all lost money in every way possible. I’m glad she won also. GOD is still trying to tell them something. But they’re just not listening. So I’m just going to enjoy seeing them self destruct.

  4. The Democratic plantation over-seers continue to play the tired ass race card they have no ideas no polices for prosperity just play the same old race card and really on the low intelligence of their voters to see them through till time to vote again #walkaway

      • more like all those 2008 “hope and change” supporters that wound up on food stamps??
        KAPOW!!!

      • Obama had nothing to do with statistics proving that whites have always receive more food stamps, and assistance than any minorities in this shithole of a country. You dig up all those corny ass videos for all your racist ass comments, dig that up Gomer Pyle!

  5. Ted Gravely on said:

    Don’t get discouraged. I’m glad that wrinkled slack skin racist won. This country is going through tough times and I’m glad that old white people are in charge. White people are losing jobs – white people are in charge. White people are going to prison for corruption – white people in charge. Economy going to crap – White people in charge. We are losing soldiers in Afghanistan- white people in charge. Treating immigrants like trash – white people at the helm. The only thing we must do is rally around and protect each other. Ugly, racist, broke white people are the most dangerous animals on earth. Get involved at the local levels and care about who is the DA, Police Chief and State reps. Let them commit fratricide. Don’t sweat that beat up face racist.

    • hoodtechie on said:

      you are one mis-informed liberal who obviously doesn’t keep up with current events.the people have spoken,get over it and move on

    • Phoenix Rising on said:

      So true! All those white unemployed maga-hilbilies at the GM plants who voted for 45. So sad. Too bad they didn’t talk to any of those Carrier workers and coal miners who are still WINNING. hahaha! I agree…don’t sweat this racist witch winning. She’ll die off pretty soon.

      • And clueless plantation negros who voted for hopeless change got what besides worthless healthcare plans Obama phones and foodstamps OH and how many people have gone back to work at jobs that the boy king said “those jobs aren’t coming back”??
        BTW uninformed plantation negros are dying off just as fast as old white people

      • Phoenix Rising on said:

        Jhuff, Pres O said those coal mining jobs weren’t coming back. You hillbillies are still waiting around with your pickaxes to go dig into the side of mountains looking for outdated coal. Then you want to talk about Obamacare and phones. Really? GM is laying off thousands as I write this, Carrier has moved or continuing to move their plants OUTSIDE of the USA, and as I stated earlier, coal miners are still waiting, and you want to talk about people on food stamps. Get a grip. You know what race has the most people on food stamps. Caucasians are. Obamacare is still here and going strong. You know that to. Maybe you should check the enrollment numbers. White people are all over Obamacare. You know why? B/c they’re poor, and when cancer comes knocking, they’re glad they have it. Still wondering why you come on this site every day to plead your case to no avail. You really need to stop parroting. Talk about plantation negroes.

      • Check your facts 30% of the electric power produced in this country comes from coal and if the majority of people on foodstamps are white then tell Al Sharpton to stop with the race baiting
        every time someone talks about welfare reform (you can’t have it both ways slick) as far as Obamacare “if you like your doctor/healthcare you can keep it” Bull sh!t, and as CNN/MSNBC minions continue to parrot GM issue forgetting the 100’s of thousand of jobs created since this President I come to this site to amuse my self with the zombie think of those conditioned to think only with they are told to

  6. So the State of Mississippi decided to remain in the 19th century and elected the daughter of the Confederacy and KKKlanswoman-Hyde Smith.

    Good ole Miss–where the state SYMBOL is a damn NOOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    God bless Amerykah!!!!!!!!!!

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