Hyde-Smith poised to make history

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith was poised to make history as the first woman duly elected to the U.S. Senate from Mississippi following election returns statewide in Tuesday night's runoff against Democratic challenger Mike Espy.

Officially the race was nonpartisan, but Hyde-Smith was the GOP standard bearer following a four-person field in the Nov. 6 general election. In the general election, Hyde-Smith edged out Espy and her nearest Republican challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Hyde-Smith easily carried DeSoto County on Tuesday with 59.52 percent of the vote, compared to 40.29 percent for Espy.

Hyde-Smith's campaign manager in DeSoto County, John Caldwell, said he was pleased with the turnout, although he would have liked to have seen greater voter participation, generally speaking.

Caldwell said he was grateful for the support that Hyde-Smith, a former state agricultural commissioner, received locally and statewide.

Hyde-Smith was appointed in April by Gov. Phil Bryant to fill the term of former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran who retired due to ill health.

Caldwell said the runoff election fell between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it a strange election cycle.

He decried the negativity of the campaign, on both sides, an election which was filled with partisan rancor and allegations of racism leveled against Hyde-Smith after an off-the-cuff remark about figuratively attending a public hanging to show her regard for a particular campaign supporter.

Hyde-Smith maintained her remarks were taken out of context and were an exaggeration.

Espy accused Hyde-Smith of embarrassing the state with her remark.

Hyde-Smith's win solidifies GOP control of the U.S. Senate.

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