Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith has won the MS runoff election following a campaign awash with racial turmoil and controversy.
The comedian, angry over the fact that Hyde-Smith managed to win the race despite telling supporters she would "sit front row" at a "public hanging" while running against a black Democratic candidate, expressed her feelings on Instagram.
Still, bolstered by unwavering support from President Donald Trump in historically conservative Mississippi, Hyde-Smith cruised to a relatively easy victory.
"While not the results we were hoping for, I am still so proud of this very historic campaign", said Espy. Doug Jones successfully employed last year in Alabama to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from that state in 25 years.
Espy, 64, campaigned as a moderate who would work with Trump and Republicans to benefit the state. Because neither Hyde-Smith nor Espy garnered more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day - both received slightly more than 40 percent -the race advanced to a runoff.
Hyde-Smith is now giving a victory speech.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, an incumbent appointed to office in April to fill longtime Republican Sen.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Mike Espy in the Mississippi Senate special election runoff Tuesday night.
Polls show four-term State Attorney Jim Hood defeating any Republican hopeful and becoming the state's first Democratic governor in 16 years.
Hyde-Smith's win marks the end of the final Senate contest of 2018, leaving the balance of control in the Senate at 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, a 2-seat pickup for the GOP. The state could soon have its first elected female senator or first black senator since Reconstruction.
Yet, Hyde-Smith's win and the (relatively small) size of it makes a lot of sense when put in the context of this election cycle.
Having been heavily favored to win the reliably Republican state, Hyde-Smith became engulfed in a political storm over a video showing her praising a supporter at a November 2 event by saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".
"The reason we won is because Mississippians know me and they know my heart", she told her supporters.
There will be a record 24 women in the U.S. Senate starting in January, 17 of them Democrats.
Hyde-Smith offered a brief apology to anyone who may have been offended. In and itself that is not necessarily problematic, but the caption Hyde-Smith posted below the photo, presumably written by her, clearly said that Confederate artifacts and weapons represent "Mississippi history at its best!"
The 59-year-old's comments were widely interpreted as alluding to Mississippi's history of lynchings and other racist violence. She quickly pivoted to accusing her opponent of twisting her comment into a political attack against her. Hyde-Smith apologized for her "public hanging" comment, which she maintains was made in jest. She initially called the public hanging remark "an exaggerated expression of regard".