Democrats Will Learn From Mike Espy's Senate Loss in Mississippi

Geneva Stokes
November 29, 2018

Hyde-Smith was also helped by an election eve visit by President Trump, who held two rallies with her on Monday.

Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith overcame criticism for comments she made about a "public hanging" to defeat former U.S. Rep. and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy in a Senate runoff election in Mississippi Tuesday.

Hyde-Smith was the favorite in the solidly red state, and the final Senate election of 2018 was long seen as an afterthought.

"While not the results we were hoping for, I am still so proud of this very historic campaign", said Espy.

CNN devoted a couple of thousand words to decrying Hyde-Smith's win, highlighting her various gaffes and public embarrassments while completely failing to mention that her opponent received payments from a tyrant accused of multiple murders and the encouragement of rape.

Hyde-Smith previously apologized for her hanging comment during a debate with Espy on November 20.

She vowed in her victory speech to represent all Mississippians.

Other questions about Hyde-Smith's past also arose - photos of her touring the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis with a caption that said, "Mississippi history at its best!"; a measure she'd once pushed in the state Senate for revisionist view of the Civil War as "The War Between the States"; and news that she'd attended an all-white private school like those founded in the South to circumvent integration decrees.

Hyde-Smith is the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi.

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Several businesses, including giant retailer Walmart, had demanded Hyde-Smith return their donations after her public hanging comment.

"He said, 'Who is Mike Espy?' " Espy said.

Indeed, almost a dozen Black Republicans interviewed by McClatchy dismissed Hyde-Smith's public hanging remark.

"While this same-sex couple's request for a permit to utilize one of our state's facilities for a "commitment ceremony" is not being defined as a marriage ceremony, it is personally troubling for me", she said at the time, citing her "personal and religious beliefs".

In the aftermath of the video, Republicans anxious they could face a repeat of last year's special election in Alabama, in which a flawed Republican candidate handed the Democrats a reliable Republican Senate seat in the Deep South.

Her supporters said the furor over her comments was overblown.

'I guess what I'm really saying is F*** Hyde-Smith and anyone who voted for her.

The victory of Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to fill the seat of Sen.

"This is just an unbelievable night", Hyde-Smith told supporters at a post-election event in Jackson. Doug Jones successfully employed last year in Alabama to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from that state in 25 years. Espy talked often about the comment during the runoff. We will elect a woman and we will elect who's right for the job. Espy was acquitted of all charges.

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