Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated challenger Mike Espy, a Democrat, in the runoff election for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi, CBS News projects. Hyde-Smith was appointed earlier this year by GOP Gov. Phil Bryant after Sen. Thad Cochran, also a Republican, stepped down. Hyde-Smith is the first woman elected to the Senate from Mississippi, and the Republican majority in the Senate will grow to 53-47.
Espy, her opponent, is a former congressman and former agriculture secretary.
Hyde-Smith and Espy advanced to a run-off because neither won 50 percent of the vote in the general election on Nov. 6. Hyde-Smith won 41.2 percent, compared to Espy’s 40.8 percent, and Republican Chris McDaniel picked up 16.5 percent.
President Trump endorsed Hyde-Smith, and visited Mississippi on Monday for two rallies supporting her campaign.
“This win tonight, this victory, it’s about our conservative values,” she said at her election party in Jackson. “It’s about the things that mean the most to all of us Mississippians: Our faith, our family. But it’s those things that I will take to Washington, D.C., that I want to represent all of Mississippians with these values. And I will fight for it, I assure you, every single day. I am your warrior.”
And she spoke with reporters briefly after she addressed supporters. She said that nothing in this race has discouraged her from running for office in the future, and she identified prison reform and the economy as issues she’ll focus on in Washington.
Given the partisanship that infected the Senate campaign, Hyde-Smith was asked how she will represent all Mississippians.
“The reason I was elected tonight — because the people in Mississippi, they know me, and they know that I’m going to represent everybody. I always have; that’s always been the case.”