Republican Hyde-Smith claims victory in Mississippi runoff

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is returning to Washington as a solidly loyal Trump supporter.

Cindy Hyde-Smith, junior US Senator from Mississippi, in office since April 2018., Photo Date: November 20, 2018 / Photo: NBC News / YouTube / (MGN)

He campaigned for her during her Senate runoff against Democrat Mike Espy.

She won Tuesday's contest and returns to Washington to serve out the remaining two years of a seat left empty by the retirement of ailing former Sen. Thad Cochran.

The runoff was marked by racial acrimony over comments Hyde-Smith made. Praising a supporter she said: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row."

The state has a history of racially motivated lynchings, and the comment angered many voters.

But supporters called the reaction overblown and said Hyde-Smith did not intend anything racist by it.

She vowed in her victory speech to represent all Mississippians.

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