The Republican candidate and incumbent Senator, Cindy Hyde-Smith, won a run-off election Tuesday, November 27, earning a full term in the US Senate by handily defeating African-American, Democrat, and one-time Clinton cabinet member, Mike Espy.
African-Americans make up roughly 38 percent of the population of Mississippi. Before the final round of voting, analysts were saying that the formula for an Espy victory was 90% of nonwhite voters as well as 25% of white voters. Had that happened, that would have amounted to a coalition akin to that which made Doug Jones a Senator from Alabama last year.
Polling in the state in the final days of the campaign was limited. Such polls as were done had high margins of error, and although they consistently indicated Espy was behind, he was generally within that margin, allowing the appearance of suspense.
The Thing to Know:
Despite well publicized gaffes from Hyde-Smith, it is well to remember that Espy carried some odoriferous baggage of his own into this campaign. He was indicted on corruption charges in 1997, arising out of his tenure as Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton. He was, though, acquitted after a trial the following year.