Hyde-Smith, Espy in runoff; Wicker wins re-election

Published 11:58 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

JACKSON (AP) — Mississippi’s U.S. Senate special election is headed to a runoff, and the state’s voters will either elect a woman to the office for the first time ever or a black man for the first time since Reconstruction.

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy advanced Tuesday from a field of four. They compete in a Nov. 27 runoff, and the winner will serve the final two years of a term started by Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired in April.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith, who was state agriculture commissioner, to temporarily succeed Cochran until the special election is decided. She is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, but no woman has been elected to the job from the state. She is endorsed by President Donald Trump.

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Espy is a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary.

In the state’s other senate race, Republican Sen. Roger Wicker was  re-elected in Mississippi, keeping the seat he has held since 2007.

Wicker defeated Democratic state Rep. David Baria and two others Tuesday.

Wicker was elected to the House in 1994, when Republicans gained control of Congress halfway through President Bill Clinton’s first term.

After Republican Sen. Trent Lott resigned in late 2007, then-Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to temporarily fill the seat. Wicker won a special election in 2008 to complete Lott’s term, and was re-elected in 2012.