JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy 54 percent to 46 percent in the U.S. Senate runoff.
“This victory...it’s about our conservative values,” Hyde-Smith said at her victory party.
“When this many people stand up and this many people speak up, it is not a loss, it is a movement,” said Espy.
Jackson State political Science professor Dr. D’Andra Orey says there’s more below the surface of those numbers.
“When you compare general election to the runoff, it looks like Cindy Hyde-Smith actually did worse compared to the Republicans. And I say Republicans, I’m talking about Hyde-Smith and McDaniel combined," noted Orey. "Based on the numbers I’m seeing, there’s a difference of about 30,000 votes.”
While she didn’t pull as much of the Republicans back to the polls as three weeks prior, she did make history as the first female elected to Congress from Mississippi.
“I look at all of these young girls and I look at women everywhere to let them know, you’ve got the opportunity,” said Hyde-Smith.
Meanwhile, Orey says it looks like Espy picked up close to 50,000 votes and some of those may have been indirectly gained.
“I think it possibly was a Cindy Hyde-Smith effect," Orey said. "Her comments may have led to some crossover voting by those who voted Republican in the general election.”
While Mississippi wasn’t part of a “blue wave”, Orey notes that this could be a look ahead to Democrats chances in coming election cycles, because the results are bucking the historical trends with Mike Espy taking 46 percent of the vote.
“Bill Clinton received 44 percent of the vote when he ran in 1996 as a native son of the South and then you had Barack Obama who received 43 percent and from there it’s down to about 40 percent of average that a Democrat receives,” explained Orey.
Hyde-Smith wasn’t able to garner as much of a margin of victory in Mississippi as what President Trump received in 2016, despite his endorsement and visits to the state.