Divisive race ends with Republican Hyde-Smith victory

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is returning to Washington as a solidly loyal Trump supporter.

He campaigned for her during her Senate runoff against Democrat Mike Espy.

She won Tuesday’s contest and returns to Washington to serve out the remaining two years of a seat left empty by the retirement of ailing former Sen. Thad Cochran.

The runoff was marked by racial acrimony over comments Hyde-Smith made. Praising a supporter she said: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

The state has a history of racially motivated lynchings, and the comment angered many voters.

But supporters called the reaction overblown and said Hyde-Smith did not intend anything racist by it.

She vowed in her victory speech to represent all Mississippians.