Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith was first appointed to her post in April 2018 after sitting Senator Thad Cochran resigned, putting the Republican woman in a position to become Mississippi’s first elected female senator.
Several months later, the November elections rolled around and a narrow contest between her and Democratic challenger Mike Espy forced a run-off election. Hyde-Smith held a small lead after election day, but pulling from her support was another Republican on the ballot.
Republicans hoped to hang on to the Senate position and President Trump joined Hyde-Smith for a rally ahead of the final vote.
On Tuesday, Hyde-Smith retained her seat in the Senate and became the first woman to do so in the state of Mississippi.
Here’s more, from the Washington Examiner:
The Associated Press and other major news outlets called the race shortly before 10:30 p.m., Tuesday night. With about 75 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith was up 56-44.
Hyde-Smith’s win came only hours after President Trump made a last-minute push to keep the seat in Republican hands. He held two rallies in the state Monday night while warning Mississippi voters that Espy was too liberal for the state. “How does he fit in with Mississippi? I mean, how does he fit in?” Trump said during the first rally in Tupelo.
“She votes to make America great again and she votes for America first,” Trump said during the same rally while promoting Hyde-Smith. “Cindy is so important, so respected, we’ve got to send her back.”
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“Tomorrow the voters of this state will cast their ballots and one of the most important Senate elections of your lives of all of our lives,” the president added, via ABC News. “I’m here to ask the people of Mississippi to send Cindy Hyde-Smith back to the United States Senate.”
During her victory speech, as ABC News reports, Hyde-Smith thanked her supporters and said the moment was “unbelievable.”
“The reason we won is because Mississippians know me, and they know my heart,” she said, per the report. “No matter who you voted for today, I’m going to always represent every Mississippian.”
As the Daily Caller reports, the election was not without controversy as mainstream media outlets took a comment from Hyde-Smith out of context:
Hyde-Smith fueled the fire in early November after she said in jest that she would “be on the front row” if a man she was campaigning with invited her to a public hanging. The comment, although taken out of context, was seized upon.
During a debate, Hyde-Smith apologized for offending anyone with her remarks and repeatedly denied any ill-will or racial implications. However, she subsequently faced scrutiny after a photograph emerged of her wearing a replica of a Confederate hat while visiting the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library.
President Donald Trump again endorsed Hyde-Smith on Sunday and held two campaign rallies in Mississippi the following day in a last-ditch rallying effort ahead of polls opening. Trump tweeted that she is “an outstanding person who “is strong on the Border, Crime, Military, our great Vets, Healthcare [and] the [Second Amendment]” and that she is “needed in D.C.”
President Trump expressed support for Hyde-Smith and congratulated her on the win in a tweet which read: “Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi. We are all very proud of you!”