Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democratic challenger Mike Espy in the state’s runoff Senate election Tuesday night.
Hyde-Smith, who’d joked about attending a “public hanging” and had been aligned with efforts at voter suppression, also had President Trump’s unwavering support. She was up 54 percent to 45 percent Tuesday night when 94 percent of the vote had been counted, according to NBC News.
“I want everybody to know, no matter who you voted for today, I’m going to always represent every Mississippian,” Hyde-Smith told supporters after claiming victory. “I will work very hard and do my very best to make Mississippi very proud.”
Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate in April by Gov. Phil Bryant after Republican Thad Cochran vacated the seat for health reasons, is now the first woman ever elected to the Senate in Mississippi.
She drew controversy toward the end of the campaign after being caught joking about attending a public hanging.
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” she told one of her supporters.
Espy, who is Black, called her comments “reprehensible.”
Trump, who called Hyde-Smith to congratulate her after the race, tweeted his support.
“Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi. We are all very proud of you!” he tweeted.