Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeats Democrat Mike Espy in special election; Peter Doocy reports from Jackson, Miss.
Hyde-Smith on Tuesday defeated Democrat Mike Espy, a former congressman and former USA agriculture secretary who was trying to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction.
Hyde-Smith won by depicting Democrat Mike Espy as too liberal for Mississippi.
"Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi", Trump tweeted Tuesday night.
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".
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to the Senate in April to replace Sen.
Cindy Hyde-Smith returns to Washington as a solidly loyal supporter of President Donald Trump after he stumped for her in a divisive MS runoff shaped by her video-recorded remark about "public hanging".
Trump congratulated Hyde-Smith on Twitter late Tuesday night. Hyde-Smith will serve in the seat until 2020, the end of the six-year term Cochran won in 2014.
Democrats had hoped a surge in turnout among black voters - who make up almost 40% of Mississippi's population, the largest share in the nation - could carry Espy to victory in a state that is highly polarized along racial lines, with most white voters backing GOP candidates and black voters supporting Democrats. They were able to pick up a net gain of two seats in 2018 in part because there were five Democratic incumbents running in states Trump won by 19 points or more in 2016.
The runoff to serve the last two years of former Republican Senator Thad Cochran's term was necessary because neither Espy nor Hyde-Smith gained more than 50 percent of the vote in a November 6 special election with four candidates.
The AP has called the runoff for Hyde-Smith, more or less officially putting a cap on the evening. She apologized to anyone who took offense, although she said she meant nothing untoward by the remark, which was construed by Espy and others as racially insensitive given Mississippi's history of lynchings.
Her supporters said the furor over her comments was overblown. The caption on the post read, "Mississippi history at its best!" And it was revealed that she'd attended a private high school that was created to avoid desegregation - and sent her daughter to one as well. She quickly pivoted to accusing her opponent of twisting her comment into a political attack against her. Trump attended two get-out-the-vote rallies in the state on Monday.
Strong Democratic turnout - especially among black voters - and an embattled Republican candidate lifted Jones to his surprise victory in Alabama.