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Cindy Hyde-Smith retains Mike Espy to retain Senate seat in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. – Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican from Mississippi who had to apologize for a cavalier reference to a public hanging, won a special second round Tuesday defeating Democratic candidate Mike Espy, who was trying to become the first state black senator since Reconstruction.

The victory of Ms. Hyde-Smith, reported by the Associated Press, was presented at the last race in the Senate mid-term elections and will set the Republican majority in the chamber between 53 and 47 years old. once the new Congress is sworn in, a net take of two seats. .

President Trump gave Mrs. Hyde-Smith a last-minute boost after several rhetorical blunders shone the spotlight on her campaign. President Trump, who had participated in two rallies on Monday, had warned the Mississippians that a victory for Mr. Espy would also be winning. one for Democratic leaders like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

The Republican victory was a deep relief for the party and Mr. Trump in a state they rarely struggle with, especially in Senate competitions. Mr. Trump has repeatedly boasted this year of his influence to help his candidates win the election, but the party had to make unusual efforts: two rallies, several tweets from the president, a financial investment and dozens of Republican election workers deployed. in the state – to help Ms. Hyde-Smith on the finish line.

His victory is clearly good news for Senate Republicans, who will now have an enlarged Conservative majority to advance Trump's judicial nominations and negotiate with a Democratic-led House.

Ms. Hyde-Smith garnered just over 54% of the vote with 95% of polling station reports.

"The reason we won, is because the Mississippians know me and they know my heart," she said Tuesday night. "This win tonight is about our conservative values, as well as the things that matter most to us all, Mississippians: our faith, our family."

Mr. Espy was the third prominent Dark Democrat to be inclined in a race to conquer the state in the South this year, following the defeat of two governorship candidates, Stacey Abrams in Georgia. Andrew Gillum in Florida.

Addressing supporters of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum here less than three hours after the polls closed, Mr. Espy said he gave in to Ms. Hyde-Smith. "She has my prayers as she travels to Washington to unite a very divided Mississippi," he said.

The election of Mrs. Hyde-Smith has strengthened the hold of Republicans on power in Mississippi, a state they have mastered since the early 2000s, and have shown that the political realignments underway in some southern regions in were still in their infancy.

Nevertheless, the fact that Ms. Hyde-Smith faced a difficult election, no candidate having obtained a majority of votes on November 6, suggests that the Democrats could make some competitive races again. And frenetic efforts to save his seat have shown that the rhetoric apparently imbued with the racist past of Mississippi is likely to have a modern political price.

Although Ms. Hyde-Smith has never been on a trajectory in power – she was faced with a Republican rival and Mr. Espy in the first round of voting, guaranteeing only the second round of Tuesday – his campaign has was seriously jeopardized by her own statements, including: one in which she said that if a supporter invited him to "a public hanging, I would be in the forefront".

Democrats and Republicans said that without this remark, and some other controversial remarks, the victory of Mrs. Hyde-Smith on Tuesday would have been almost total.

Instead, Mr. Espy, 64, and his allies were able to grasp the speech of Ms. Hyde-Smith and assert that it was an anachronistic representation of the Mississippi, a State that has fought hard to repair his image more than half a century later. the most serious violations of the civil rights era.

At a debate that took place last week, Ms. Hyde-Smith, 59, the state's agriculture commissioner until this year, said her remarks on the "public hanging" reflected nothing "and that she claimed that it was unfair.

Mr. Espy, former secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration and first black member of the Mississippi Congress since the Reconstruction, replied, "It's out of your mouth. I do not know what you have in your heart, but we all know what came out of your mouth. "

Nevertheless, Mr. Espy refrained from attacking his opponent too strongly because of his remarks, aware of the large block of conservative white voters in the state who support the Republicans and are deeply loyal to President Trump. It was a reflection of Democrats must strike a balance when they are trying to break into southern states like Georgia and Texas, where calls to the grassroots of African-Americans, Hispanics and suburban moderates could alienate Whites in rural areas.

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