Republicans even privately acknowledged that Hyde-Smith mangled her response to the video, and it wasn't until a debate last week that she offered a qualified apology.
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is the projected victor of the Senate runoff in MS, according to the Associated Press, overcoming a series of missteps that brought the state's dark history of racism and violence to the forefront.
The win makes Hyde-Smith, 59, the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi.
In the aftermath of the video, Republicans anxious they could face a repeat of last year's special election in Alabama, in which a flawed Republican candidate handed the Democrats a reliable Republican Senate seat in the Deep South.
Hyde-Smith earned vocal support from Donald Trump and McDaniel finished a distant third in the first round of voting with 16.5% of the vote.
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The race was rocked by the video, in which Hyde-Smith said of a supporter, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".
But it was her odd gaffes that prompted intense discussion in the state and nationally about Mississippi's dark racial history.
Hyde-Smith vowed Tuesday night to "represent every Mississippian" and to "work very hard, do my very best to make MS proud of your U.S. Senator".
"Mr. President, thank you so much for all of your help", Hyde-Smith said in a victory speech to supporters, reiterating her win was a triumph for conservative values.
There will be a record 24 women in the U.S. Senate starting in January, 17 of them Democrats. And it was revealed that she'd attended a private high school that was created to avoid desegregation - and sent her daughter to one as well.
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MSNBC host Nicole Wallace got corrected live on her own show when she tried to falsely pin a supposedly racist demonstration on Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. Republicans defeated Democratic incumbents in Florida, Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota, but lost GOP-held seats in Arizona and Nevada.
She also joked about making it "a little more difficult" for liberals to vote. However, in 2018, it is deeply troubling to hear the term "public hanging" being used in this context by a senator, particularly given the division in our politics.
The controversies surrounding her set off a major push by national Republicans to avoid the same embarrassment they'd suffered past year in Alabama over the Senate campaign of Roy Moore and save Hyde-Smith.
Some corporate donors, including Walmart, requested refunds on their campaign contributions to Hyde-Smith after the videos surfaced. Thad Cochran stepped down due to health issues.
Hyde-Smith and Espy emerged from a field of four candidates November 6 to advance to Tuesday's runoff. He tried to recreate a coalition that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate win in neighboring Alabama previous year by energizing black voters, particularly women, and winning support from white swing voters. "We are all very proud of you!"
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