In historic Senate showdown, Mississippi will elect first woman or first African American

Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today

Mike Espy promises an aggressive runoff campaign against Cindy Hyde-Smith.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Mississippi voters will either elect a woman to Congress for the first time or send an African American to the U.S Senate for the first time since Reconstruction.

Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, the incumbent, will face Mike Espy, a Democrat and former cabinet secretary in a Nov. 27 runoff election to determine who will fill the remainder of the seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. Thad Cochran earlier this year.

For weeks, pundits and polls predicted the matchup between Hyde-Smith and Espy, both of whom previously held agriculture-related posts — as state ag commissioner and U.S. agriculture secretary, respectively.

Those predictions held up…

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