Republicans managed to hold onto Mississippi’s US Senate seat after incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith easily defeated her Democratic challenger, Mike Espy, by decisive a margin of eight points.
“Cindy Hyde-Smith has been a strong conservative voice since joining the Senate, so it should come as no surprise that she was elected by Mississippians to represent them in Washington,” Politico quoted Sen. Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
At one point, however, the race was rocked when a photo surfaced of the 59-year-old lawmaker wearing a Confederate army cap along with video of her making racially insensitive statements.
In the footage, Hyde-Smith could be seen praising one of her supporters, saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the first row.”
The remarks highlighted the racist lynchings that marred Mississippi’s history, a fact her opponent was quick to point out.
“I don’t know what’s in your heart, but we all know what came out of your mouth,” Espy said, referring to Hyde-Smith. “It’s given our state another black eye that we don’t need.”
Hyde-Smith apologized for the remarks, explaining, “There was no ill will, no intent, whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, her supporters, as well as some political analysts, said the furor over her comments was overblown, something Hyde-Smith alluded to in her victory speech Tuesday night.
“The reason we won is because Mississippians know me and they know my heart,” she told her supporters. “This win tonight, this victory, it’s about our conservative values, it’s about the things that mean the most to all of us Mississippians: our faith, our family.”
Hyde-Smith’s victory will put the Republican majority in the Senate at 53 to 47.