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The Quick Facts
- Today, Mississippi will hold a special runoff election to determine the state’s junior senator. The state held a jungle primary on November 6th, but no candidate received over 50% of the vote, triggering the runoff.
- The race pits Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith against Democratic challenger Mike Espy.
- Hyde-Smith was appointed to Thad Cochran's Senate seat by Governor Phil Bryant in April, 2018. She is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress.
- In 1999, Hyde-Smith was elected to the Mississippi State Senate as a Democrat. She represented the 39th district from 2000 to 2012. In 2010, Hyde-Smith switched parties and became a Republican, citing her conservative values.
- Mike Espy served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 1993.
- Prior to that, Espy served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton. He was both the first African American and first person from the Deep South in that position.
- Hyde-Smith has faced recent controversy after a video surfaced of her stating that, if invited to a “public hanging,” she would “be in the front row.”