Multiple sources, including the Associated Press, have called the race in favor of Hyde-Smith.
Most notably, at a public campaign event, Hyde-Smith said that if a supporter invited her to "a public hanging, I'd be on the front row". "But here's the nuance: voters that were angry and frustrated by her comments and who theoretically could have moved to Espy were being reminded by the left's independent expenditures here how they - the left - really feel about those potential crossover-voters by actually attacking a lot of their sensibilities with alarming photos of lynching and then attacking her for going to a private white academy - something the parents of a lot of MS children in the '70's did to fight court-ordered integration".
Hyde-Smith earned vocal support from Donald Trump and McDaniel finished a distant third in the first round of voting with 16.5% of the vote.
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She initially refused to apologize for the hanging remark, but said in a debate last week that she was sorry 'for anyone that was offended'. What did help Hyde-Smith though is that Trump is well liked in the state. Hyde-Smith will have to run again in 2020 to serve a full six-year term. Espy would have been the first African-American elected from the state since Reconstruction. There's one more House seat in contention in California. The last Democrat Mississippians elected to the Senate from the state was John Stennis in 1982 for the final term of his four-decade career in the chamber.
Hyde-Smith was appointed to the seat earlier this year after longtime incumbent Thad Cochran resigned due to ill health. After nine days of not commenting on her remarks and the controversy they generated, Hyde-Smith made a pseudo-apology during the Senate debate on November 20. The remark, Espy and various national Democratic groups charged, evoked Misssissippi's history in the early 20th century as the southern state with the most lynchings of black citizens.
"This comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me", Hyde-Smith said.
In photos posted to her Facebook account in 2014, Hyde-Smith was pictured posing with Confederate artifacts during a visit to Beauvoir, the home and library of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
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The runoff contest drew comparisons to the Alabama Senate special election previous year, when Democrat Doug Jones won a narrow victory against Roy Moore, after the Republican faced multiple accusations from women that he had molested them when they were teenagers. 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.
Her supporters said the furore over her comments was overblown.
Speaking to supporters after her win, Hyde-Smith vowed to fight for everyone in the state when she goes to Washington.
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