Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won her runoff election in Mississippi on Tuesday, ensuring she will retain her title of most racist lawmaker in Congress’ upper chamber when the new session is gaveled in early next year.
Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Thad Cochran’s retirement in April, burst into the national psyche earlier this month when video surfaced of her at a campaign event addressing a local rancher by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
Mississippi has a long, dark history of public lynchings, and from the moment her remarks surfaced, donors and other supporters quickly sought to distance themselves from her campaign.
Hyde-Smith offered a meek non-apology several days later, suggesting her comment was said in jest. She made the same excuse days later when video surfaced of her praising efforts to explicitly suppress voters as “a great idea.” But it didn’t take long for reporters to uncover more than a decade’s worth of equally troubling comments from the racist lawmaker.
There was the time she forcefully defended slavery as a matter of plantation owners “defending their homeland,” or the time she expressed her “great pride” for traitors who declared war on the United States and murdered hundreds of thousands of American citizens. Her contempt for Black Mississippians runs so deep, she sent her own daughter to the same kind of private school she herself attended, which were established so that white families could bypass federally mandated school integration.
One day before her runoff election, several nooses were found hanging from trees near the state capitol building.
Hyde-Smith’s election was the final Senate race of the 2018 midterm season. She failed to eclipse the 50 percent threshold on Election Day earlier this month, necessitating a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy, who staged a stronger than expected campaign in a state that hasn’t elected a new Democrat to the Senate since before the Civil Rights Act passed.
Hyde-Smith’s campaign wasn’t immediately available for comment, but we surmise the junior senator from Mississippi is looking forward to working with her Republican colleagues, both real and imaginary.