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Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Re-Election in Mississippi Runoff Election

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Re-Election in Mississippi Runoff Election

"I've said all along, this isn't about me".

Hyde-Smith is now giving a victory speech. "This win tonight, this victory, it's about our conservative values".

Hyde-Smith will now fill out the remainder of former Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, the former Appropriations Committee chairman who retired in April due to health concerns. Hyde-Smith will have to run again in 2020 to serve a full six-year term.

And Espy, while a serious candidate, had baggage of his own.

Her win on Tuesday means Republicans will hold 53 seats to Democrats' 47 seats in the Senate in January. In the meantime, Mike Espy, who didn't have the progressive street cred or media buzz enjoyed by Abrams and Gillum, did an admirable job of challenging the ancient race-driven status quo of Mississippi. "We are all very proud of you!" he tweeted.

The Associated Press called the race with some 78 percent of precincts reporting and Hyde-Smith up 55.2 percent to 44.8 percent. That upset some people who said it was insensitive in light of the state's history of lynchings.

"She has my prayers as she goes to Washington to unite a very divided MS", he told supporters.

As he left the stage with his family, many in the crowd shouted "we like Mike".

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

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As it stands now, major American corporations and brands including Walmart, Major League Baseball, Google and AT&T have all demanded that Hyde-Smith return their donations to her campaign.

Meanwhile Hyde-Smith's camp was ebullient.

While Hyde-Smith largely stayed off the campaign trail, the party's infrastructure rallied to her defense.

Hyde-Smith offered a brief apology to anyone who may have been offended.

Gbagbo, who is now on trial for human rights abuses, has refused to cede power in the region claiming that all who oppose him are attempting to overthrow his legitimate government (despite losing the election). It was the centerpiece of her campaign.

Hyde-Smith, 59, finished first in the general election among four candidates on November 6, but did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, which triggered the runoff. Millions in out-of-state money poured into the state as national pundits speculated on the outcome of the race, particularly after controversy dominated national headlines. Hyde-Smith was heavily criticized after video footage emerged of her saying of a supporter in Tupelo, Mississippi, "if he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row". Espy talked often about the comment during the runoff.

Hyde-Smith drew controversy toward the end of the campaign when she was caught joking about attending a public hanging.

The public outcry against her marks was loud and angry and "moved the dial" to Espy, according to political columnist Geoff Pender of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. While Hyde-Smith received about 54 percent of the vote, Espy got about 46 percent. Espy was acquitted of all charges.

Trump remains exceedingly popular there with most of the state's white voters, and attended a pair of rallies on her behalf on election eve to make sure GOP turnout didn't drop off enough to put her in real jeopardy.