JACKSON, Miss .– Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (right) is expected to win a racially-inspired second-ranking election on Tuesday night, overcoming Democrat Democrat Mike Espy's surprisingly keen challenge of becoming the first elected senator in the United States.
The victory of Hyde-Smith, after expressing its intention to join a supporter in the front row of a public hanging, reinforces the Republican majority in the Senate and illustrates the ability of President Trump to rally his supporters behind a difficult campaign.
"We bonded, we persevered, we went through the trials," Hyde-Smith told a fan room just after receiving a congratulatory call from Trump. "The reason we won, is because the Mississippians know me and they know my heart."
Espy, who would have become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction, led the state's most competitive democratic campaign in favor of the US Senate for decades, but failed in his efforts to attract a number history of black voters.
Throughout the campaign, he tried to balance things out, trying to galvanize black voters in a state that possessed a greater proportion than any other, while not alienating white voters , who presented themselves in disproportionate numbers.
Espy, in a speech conceding the race, said he was proud of his campaign.
"When so many people show up, when so many people get up, when so many people say, it's not a loss. It's a moment, "he told his supporters at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. "We will not stop moving our state forward."
The Republicans were not totally confident about Tuesday's approach, even in a state where Trump was posting 18 points in 2016 and where the Democrats had not won a race in the Senate since 1982. But the Hyde-Smith's victory proved just how conservative the state was and how important the challenges were. are always for Democrats. With 99% of the polling stations reported, it received the highest number of votes (46%), against 46% for Espy.
The Espy campaign implemented its participation strategy, ahead of its November 6 vote in almost every county. He was on the right track to move the state's 25 black majority counties, most of them by larger margins than he had won in the first round. He also cut traditional Republican margins in some suburban counties. In DeSoto County, on the outskirts of Memphis, it went from 34% in the first round to 41% on Tuesday.
It was not enough to overtake Hyde-Smith as she accumulated landslide margins in conservative counties. Unlike Roy Moore of Alabama, who was struggling to pull out ordinary Republican voters, Hyde-Smith seemed to be sitting in his base, along with the thousands of conservatives who had backed Chris McDaniel, the challenger insurgent who had almost won the primary in 2014 for the seat. had spent a bad fall campaign comparing Hyde-Smith to Hillary Clinton.
Despite the elections that took place a few days after Thanksgiving, the turnout surpassed last semester's numbers and was close to or close to November 6th. This essentially sentenced Espy, whose path to victory depended on keeping the Conservatives at home.
With hundreds of speakers left to count in the Delta, which tends to vote Democrat, the race in the Mississippi Senate has seemed the closest since 2008, when the presence of Barack Obama at the polls fueled an increase in the number of African-American voters. On Tuesday, the margin seemed likely to lead to a similar result: a victory of the Republicans, about 10 points.
The country's biggest political hitter had weighed in the last federal mid-term qualifying race in 2018, with Trump hosting twin rallies here Monday and Obama appealing to all his forces to urge his supporters to vote.
"My name may not be on the ballot," Obama said. "But our future is. This is the reason why I think it's one of the most important elections of our lives. "
Trump himself has also become much more engaged, calling on Hyde-Smith last week to voice his concern over his infidelity campaign. He urged her to apologize for her comment on a public hanging, according to a person informed of the call. The next night, reading notes, she made a conditional apology to anyone who might have been offended.
Her comments had also drawn attention to a photo of her wearing a Confederate uniform bonnet to promote tourism in Jefferson Davis' property and his attendance at an academy of segregation.
Hyde-Smith briefly spoke with reporters after his speech Tuesday night, expressing his lack of interest in his comments during the campaign. "We apologized for that," she said. "We will continue and – the people of Mississippi, they are really concerned about today's events, the problems of today."
During the election campaign, she went on a bus nicknamed the "MAGA Wagon" and boasted about her vote with Trump "100% of the time".
"I know one thing: if she loses, I will be blamed and if she wins, I will not benefit from any credit," Trump told Washington Post reporters during an interview Tuesday. "It's the only thing I know."
In the first of his rallies with Hyde-Smith on Monday, Trump interpreted Espy – stemming from a prominent African-American family living in Mississippi for generations – as an unfamiliar stranger to the state.
"How is it in Mississippi?" Trump asked. "How is it adapted?"
After voting Tuesday morning, Espy recounted how her grandfather had spent all her life helping black residents of the state, including setting up a hospital so that women could not give birth in the cotton fields. He was born at this hospital in 1953.
"He said: Who is Mike Espy?" Says Espy. "Well, Mike Espy was a member of the Mississippi Congress – four times. . . . I was the first black congressman since the Civil War. Mike Espy was Secretary of Agriculture. . . first black of the nation to hold this position. "
Nevertheless, Espy has often struggled to respond to accusations of breach of ethics. He resigned from President Bill Clinton's office following an investigation into charges that he inappropriately accepted gifts. He was acquitted on 30 charges of corruption, but Republicans issued ads calling him "too corrupt for the Clintons."
The result will not change the Senate's control, but the victory of Hyde-Smith seals a Republican majority of 53 to 47 people in the room. It will occupy the last two years of the term of long-standing Republican Senator Thad Cochran, whose seat was appointed after the resignation of his post because of health problems. It will have to represent itself in 2020.
On Tuesday morning, many voters entered the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to vote in a suburb of Jackson, a Republican stronghold. Most said they were not happy with their choices.
"The only reason I vote for her is because she's Republican," said Jerry Gullette, owner of several 58-year-old Napa's auto repair shops. "She's the best of the worst. I could do a better job than her, honestly.
Nevertheless, he voted for Hyde-Smith.
For Janice Sandefur, a 60-year-old clinical social worker, the election resurrected memories of the wholly white school in which her parents sent her, just like Hyde-Smith, where the mascot was the Confederates.
"We are so attached to the concept of tradition that inheritance; I'm sure I had parents who fought during the Civil War. And I'm really sorry, they bought that, "she said. "We always have a very divided state. I hope we will exceed this level in my life. I really do. "