JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is declared the unofficial winner over Democrat Mike Espy and Jimmy Edwards.
Hyde-Smith securing almost 56 percent of the vote. Mississippi Republicans are counting this Hyde-Smith win as a confirmation of their platform. They believe it’s the conservative candidates that best line-up with most Mississippians' beliefs and values.
“The only thing better than beating Mike Espy is to beat him twice,” said Cindy Hyde-Smith. But in the rematch, Mike Espy out fund-raised and outspent Hyde-Smith.
“We built the bridge and even though I’m not be able to cross it personally," said Mike Espy. "Others behind me are across it.”
Espy says he’ll leave the data infrastructure his campaign built for future candidates. But we asked Jackson State’s Dr. D’Andra Orey what it would take for Democrats to win a statewide or federal office in Mississippi.
“You can’t win with just the white vote," noted Jackson State University Department of Political Science professor Orey. "You can’t win with just the Black vote. And so the Democratic Party is going to have to find a way to create a coalition and that’s just tough in a place that is based in rooted in race… division that is.”
He’s referencing race because he noticed a racial split in the counties won by Espy.
“Espy didn’t win any white counties with the exception of about two and those were college towns," explained Orey. "He won Oktibbeha. All the counties that Espy won were predominantly black counties.”
Dr. Glenn Antizzo at Mississippi College points out that the totals reflect what Mississippi has come to expect in statewide races.
“It pretty much fits into a mold that you will find all throughout the South," said Antizzo. "And it works something like this… a Republican is going to win a statewide or federal office unless the Republican candidate is fatally flawed.”
And the added factor tied to turnout was the presidential election.
“I’m not sure if the Democrats, regardless of the situation, would’ve been able to overcome the fact that the president was at the top of the ticket and it really is hard to imagine that somebody was going to pull that lever for Donald Trump and then switch over to vote for Mike Espy," said Antizzo.
But analysts today pointed out that Hyde-Smith didn’t do as well as Trump in the state but Espy outperformed Biden.