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

Supporters of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith celebrate during an election night party in Jackson Mississippi

She defeated Democratic opponent Mike Espy, 64, who was aiming to become the first African-American US senator from MS since Reconstruction.

Hyde-Smith won 61% of the vote in her prior statewide race for Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. Because neither Hyde-Smith nor Espy garnered more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day - both received slightly more than 40 percent -the race advanced to a runoff.

Hyde-Smith is the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi.

Hyde-Smith herself contributed to that effort with her much-publicized comment late in the campaign that she so-trusted a supporter she would attend a "public hanging" with him.

Numerous companies reacted to those incidents by demanding refunds of campaign donations made to Hyde-Smith.

But Hyde-Smith and Trump insisted that she's a loyal supporter of the president's agenda. The GOP grew its majority in the Senate by two seats in this year's midterm elections even as Democrats took control of the House. Cindy Hyde-Smith celebrate during an election night party in Jackson, Mississippi.

Polls show four-term State Attorney Jim Hood defeating any Republican hopeful and becoming the state's first Democratic governor in 16 years. The state could soon have its first elected female senator or first black senator since Reconstruction. The state last elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1982.

Earlier this month, Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy (D) were the top-two finishers in the special election to replace Thad Cochran (R), who resigned in April due to health issues.

Hyde-Smith was also recorded earlier in November telling another joke in which she suggested liberals should have their votes suppressed.

The race had appeared to narrow after comments the senator made rekindled memories of Mississippi's history of lynching blacks and voter suppression.

But supporters called the reaction overblown and said Hyde-Smith did not intend anything racist by it.

The runoff contest drew comparisons to the Alabama Senate special election a year ago, when Democrat Doug Jones won a narrow victory against Roy Moore, after the Republican faced multiple accusations from women that he had molested them when they were teenagers.

In photos posted to her Facebook account in 2014, Hyde-Smith was pictured posing with Confederate artifacts during a visit to Beauvoir, the home and library of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

During a televised debate nine days after the video was publicised, she apologised to "anyone that was offended by my comments", but also said the remark was used as a "weapon" against her. 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.

When asked to elaborate on her remarks, she added: "I'm a cowgirl, and when a cowgirl references western movies that I've seen hundreds of, and somebody twists it, that's just it, you've got to roll with the punches", reports ABC News.

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