Cindy Hyde-Smith wins Mississippi senate unoff

There was really no contest, although it was closer than it should have been.

President Trump late Tuesday congratulated incumbent Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith for handily defeating an insurgent challenge by Democrat Mike Espy in Mississippi's contentious special election runoff to become the first woman ever elected to Congress from the state.

Hyde-Smith, 59, is an ardent supporter of Trump who was appointed earlier this year by Mississippi's governor to fill retiring Sen. Thad Cochran's seat. She will finish out the remaining two years of Cochran's term in the deep-red state that went for Trump by nearly 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

"Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the great state of Mississippi. We are all very proud of you!” Trump tweeted.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith had 446,927 votes to Espy's 374,880 -- a commanding margin of 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent, according to state election officials. The race marks the final midterm contest of 2018.

“I want everybody to know, no matter who you voted for today, I’m gonna always represent every Mississippian,” Hyde-Smith said at her victory party late Monday night. "Being on that MAGA-wagon, the Make American Great Again bus, we have bonded, we have persevered, we have gotten through things, we were successful today."

Hyde-Smith's win gives Republicans more leeway to ensure the confirmation of Trump's federal judicial and Cabinet nominees that require Senate approval and strengthens the party's chances of holding the majority in 2020.

"She has my prayers as she goes to Washington to unite a very divided Mississippi," Espy said in his concession speech.

This brings the Senate total for Republicans to 54, a critical number given the sometimes ify voting of Susan Collins, Lisa Ann Murkowski, making them less of a factor, that should mean clean saling for Trump judicial nominees and a possible Supreme Court pick if a retirement occurs.

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