/Cindy Hyde-Smith defeats Mike Espy in Senate runoff, becomes state’s first woman elected to Congress

Cindy Hyde-Smith defeats Mike Espy in Senate runoff, becomes state’s first woman elected to Congress

Hyde-Smith beat Espy comfortably Tuesday night. This shut down national speculation about whether the deeply Republican state would elect a Democrat as its U.S. Senate candidate for the first time since the advent of the modern GOP. “I have said it all along that this isn’t about me. Hyde-Smith spoke to a crowd of around 80 supporters at the Westin Jackson on Tuesday night. “This is about the people in Mississippi, and what’s most important to them.” This win tonight, this victory is about our conservative values. It’s about what matters most to Mississippians, our state and our families.” Hyde Smith replaces U.S. Senator Thad Cochran who was the former chairman of the Appropriations committee. He resigned in April because of health concerns. Hyde-Smith will continue in the seat until 2020 when the six-year term Cochran was elected to in 2014 comes to an end. Espy ran to make history. He would have been the first African American to be elected to the Senate in Mississippi if he had won Tuesday’s election. Soon after the race was called Espy addressed supporters at Mississippi Civil Rights Museum where his 1986 historic election to Congress is remembered. Espy said, “While we didn’t get the results we wanted, I am so proud of this historic campaign.” After a long campaign that attracted national attention due to Hyde Smith’s comments about supporting voter suppression and attending a public hanging, Espy told the crowd he called Hyde Smith to congratulate him. She laughed in all instances. Espy stated, “She has my prayers when she goes to Washington for unification of a divided Mississippi.” Many in the crowd cheered Mike as he left the stage, along with his family. Machelle Kyles, a supporter from Bolton said that Mike Espy ran an excellent campaign. My thoughts are that Mississippi is still very segregated. Although we had some good people who came out, there is still a lot to do.” Hyde Smith’s camp was enthusiastic. The room burst into cheers when a Fox News reporter called the election for Hyde Smith through a large projector screen. A group of Hyde Smith’s cousins, long-time friends and family members, dressed in red, raised campaign signs while Martina McBride’s song “This One’s For the Girls,” blared through the speakers. It’s an important event because it shows that Republican women in the country and in Mississippi are not making the same gains in electing women, as their Democratic counterparts,” stated state Senator Sally Doty (R-Brookhaven), who held Hyde Smith’s old seat since 2011. This is a great sign that Mississippi is moving forward. We will elect a female candidate and we will choose the right person for the job. Cindy demonstrated that all through her campaign.” Hyde Smith and Espy faced off in Tuesday’s second round after a Nov. 6 special elections in which two other candidates, including Chris McDaniel (an anti-establishment candidate), were defeated. The runoff was decided by the two top vote-getters Hyde Smith and Espy, who did not receive 50 percent in the special election three weeks ago. This election marks the end to a long and costly race. National pundits speculated about the outcome of this race as millions in outside-state money went into the state, especially after the controversy had dominated national headlines. Hyde-Smith made the following comment about a supporter at a Nov. 2, campaign event: “If he invited us to a public hanging I’d be there on the front row.” Espy spoke often about this comment during the runoff. Hyde-Smith apologized for her comments and the controversy she generated after nine days of not commenting. She strategically avoided answering press questions, as Espy’s campaign had criticized her comments. Since Nov. 6, attack ads have been looped on state television. Hyde-Smith’s camp painted Espy, who was then U.S. Secretary for Agriculture in 1990s, as a corrupt politician. Espy was cleared of all charges. Rick Huffstutler said that Espy was acquitted of all charges. He was referring to Hyde Smith’s comments made at her party on Tuesday about Hyde-Smith hanging. Espy receiving $750,000 from a dictator that killed and raped Africans. The media pretends that this is okay.” Espy’s campaign painted Hyde Smith as an unreliable candidate and said that Hyde-Smith “has rekindled memories of the state that most want it to leave behind.” We appreciate your support and encourage you to make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this one. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding those who live in Mississippi. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.