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Note: Follow DeSoto County election results Tuesday online. CLICK HERE

Voters across DeSoto County will go to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots for the open U.S. Senate seat which was vacated by former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired earlier this year.

Polling places in 41 precincts are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The two top-vote getters in the Nov. 6 general election were former U.S. Rep. Mike Espy and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to the Senate seat in April.

The U.S. Senate election in Mississippi is one of the very last in the nation to be decided and depending upon the outcome could signal a solidification of Republican control in the U.S. Senate or narrow the slight majority the GOP currently maintains in the Senate.

The so-called blue wave of Democrats, including the election of many new women and minority candidates, swept control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Either way, Mississippi stands to elect the first African-American to the U.S. Senate in 140 years or the first statewide duly-elected woman to the nation's august deliberative body that comprises the U.S. Senate.

Interest in the race has sparked national attention as well as generated widespread voter focus here at home.

DeSoto Circuit Clerk Dale Kelly Thompson said her office more than likely broke a record for the number of absentee ballots cast in an absentee election.

"It was pretty much a record for a runoff election," Thompson said. "We had more than 1,089 people cast absentee ballots in the runoff and we only had five days in which to cast their absentee ballots. We had over 3,050 to vote absentee in the runoff election. We had 300 to come in and vote Saturday morning. There has been a lot of interest in this race."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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