A Mississippi-based public policy center says Mississippi voters did what they have done for the past 30 years – elect a Republican Senator.
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith cruised to an 8-point victory in Tuesday night's Senate runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy. She will fill the unexpired term of Thad Cochran, which runs through 2020.
Despite the fact that the race drew a great deal of attention and many national analysts were bullish on Espy's chances, at the end of the day, the talk of an upset appeared to be more wishful thinking than in line with the realities of the Mississippi electorate.
Trump's 'magic wand' does it again
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)
A conservative political scientist says the Republican victory in the Senate runoff race in Mississippi on Tuesday shows that President Donald Trump can "wave a magic wand" to help seal a deal.
Dr. Charles Dunn, emeritus professor of government at Clemson University, says Trump has "had a magic wand over senatorial campaigns this year – and once again he came to Mississippi to wave his magic wand [for Cindy Hyde-Smith]."
How much of a factor was it? "... If he had not come, she still would have won – but not by the margin that she had. [Democrat Mike] Espy would have had a better opportunity to make the race closer than he did," Dunn responds.
And the outcome of this final Senate contest of 2018, Dunn argues, should give Trump momentum heading into the 2020 election cycle.
"Having strengthened Republican numbers in the Senate ... will enable him – for example, with regard to conservative judicial nominees and with regard to issues such as abortion and many others – to have even more success," says the political scientist. "So I wouldn't want to bet against Donald Trump. To date, everyone who has bet against him typically has lost."
The bottom line, Dunn concludes, is that the Trump camp has reason to be optimistic about 2020.
Brett Kittredge – who serves as director of Marketing and Communications for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy – was not in shock that the conservative candidate won in Mississippi.
"We saw a Democrat mount a credible campaign,” Kittredge observed from the midterm race. “Obviously, he had millions of dollars spent on his behalf, and at the end of the day, Republican voters decided [they were] going to stick with a Republican as [they] have for the past 30 years. So, in a lot of ways, it wasn't a surprise. We don't have a lot of swing voters in the state."
Kittredge also noted that Hyde-Smith's numbers were down – compared to the Republican totals during the November 6 open primary, when the conservative frontrunner picked up 41.2 percent of the votes, next to Espy’s 40.8 percent, with McDaniel getting 16.5 percent. In the runoff, Hyde-Smith had 54 percent of the vote and Espy scored 46 percent – meaning that about 58 percent voted for the two Republican candidates in the midterms … a four-percent drop from all the Republican votes in this week’s runoff.
"There were many Republicans for whichever reason – many McDaniel voters … maybe people who were turned off by some of her comments or unforced errors on her behalf that they just decided to sit it out," he pointed out.
Kittredge then stressed that this race seemed more like a litmus test of President Donald Trump's appeal versus the left's resistance – rather than a discussion of policy solutions important to Mississippi voters.
Mississippi sends Hyde-Smith back to the Senate … now what?
With Mississippi voters sending Republican Hyde-Smith back to Washington to fill out the Senate term of retired Thad Cochran, they can expect a few things.
Hyde-Smith is going to Washington after a somewhat historic win -- becoming the first female senator ever elected from Mississippi.
American Family Association (AFA) political analyst Walker Wildmon is confident that she will serve the state well.
“On some of the major issues that conservatives care about – such as judicial appointments, ... pro-life issues, etc. – I think Senator Cindy Hyde Smith will fall on the right side, and she'll fall on President Trump's side,” Wildmon asserted.
It is anticipated that her victory should – but probably won't – convince liberals that conservatives are not the misogynists they are accused of being.
“The left's narrative is that conservatives are sexist – we don't like women, we're against women's rights,” Wildmon pointd out. “But the reality is that conservatives enjoy sending females to represent us all across the country, and this is just another example.”
The double digit win also cements Mississippi back in the deep red column politically – not that this was ever really in doubt, but Democrats were hoping to ride whatever coattails neighboring Alabama Senator Doug Jones had when that red state put him in the Senate.
Wildmon stressed that Republicans were not taking any chances, as they even sent Trump to the Magnolia State.
“When he comes into a state and he campaigns for a candidate, he carries a lot of weight, and he turns out the vote,” the pro-family leader noted. “So. President Trump's presence definitely makes a difference – it energizes the vote, and I think that shows how much the American people like President Trump.”
Hyde-Smith will have to run again in 2020 – when Cochran's original term expires.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.