Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith held onto her Senate seat in Mississippi tonight. I suspect a lot of people were not even aware of this race in the first place, since it’s flown under the radar for many.
It was the last Senate seat contested in the 2018 election cycle. This was a run-off for the special election resulting from Sen. Thad Cochran’s retirement back in April due to health reasons. Sen. Hyde-Smith was appointed to the seat by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, following Cochran’s retirement.
The special election’s jungle primary occurred back on November 6, but no candidate reached 50% there. Thus, this run-off precipitated.
The race pitted Sen. Hyde-Smith against Democrat Mike Espy, as Hyde-Smith sought to be the first ever female Senator elected in Mississippi. A historical fact that was mysteriously missed by most news coverage in the lead-up to the election.
This result gives the GOP a final Senate majority of 53 — 47 for the next two years.
This should have been a slam dunk, but the race was tighter than normal for such a deep red state, due in large part to Hyde-Smith’s missteps, referencing public hangings in the weeks between the Nov. 6 election and the November 27 run-off. Even if the margin was closer than normal, the end result was never in much doubt. Hyde-Smith ended up with a roughly 10 point victory and a 6-year term as the newly elected Senator from Mississippi.