Mississippi Republican wins final 2018 Senate race

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In Tuesday's race, 59-year-old Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy, a former USA agriculture secretary who hoped to become Mississippi's first African-American senator since Reconstruction.

Hyde-Smith was heavily criticized after video footage emerged of her saying of a supporter in Tupelo, Mississippi, "if he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row".

Trump, who visited MS, a state he won by 18 points in the 2016 presidential election, on Monday for rallies supporting Hyde-Smith's campaign, congratulated her on the win on Twitter late Tuesday.

Hyde-Smith, the white former state lawmaker who was appointed to the Senate in April, overcame a controversy after her comment on public hangings.

"To the lawless caravans and illegal trespassers marching toward our border, it is very simple: Turn back now, go back home, we will not let you in", Trump said.

Hyde-Smith was projected to win by about 70,000 votes over Espy, a former congressman and agriculture secretary under Barack Obama.

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The video sparked a furor in the deep South state that has a history of racism and violence against blacks, including lynchings. "I talk to them as Mississippians-Mississippi young people who want to reduce their debt coming out of college, Mississippi young people who want to stay in this state, and not go to Atlanta and Dallas to get a good job", Espy said after voting. Hyde-Smith was initially defensive about the comments and eventually offered an apology to "anyone that was offended" at the only debate of the runoff. Espy, who is black, called her comments "reprehensible".

With Mississippi's rules on achieving at least 50% of the vote, the November 6 election failed to produce an outright victor. The state could soon have its first elected female senator or first black senator since Reconstruction. Hyde-Smith will serve in the seat until 2020, the end of the six-year term Cochran won in 2014. Cochran resigned for health reasons earlier this year, and GOP Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to the vacant seat earlier this year. Unfortunately for him, the African-American vote did not come out in large enough numbers to give him an upset victory, and he did not score well enough among white voters. They also held onto the two Republican seats that were thought to be at least vaguely competitive (Mississippi and Tennessee) in states that were about as red. 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.

As it stands now, major American corporations and brands including Walmart, Major League Baseball, Google and AT&T have all demanded that Hyde-Smith return their donations to her campaign.

But Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, from the coastal town of Diamondhead, voted for Hyde-Smith and said neither the "hanging" comments nor Hyde-Smith's appearance in the Confederate hat bothered her.

Espy, an attorney, said: "I found out later that this guy, the president, was a really bad guy". The caption on the post read, "Mississippi history at its best!" She accused Espy of twisting her words for political gain.

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