The Latest: ‘Steady but slow’ turnout in Mississippi runoff
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. Senate runoff election in Mississippi (all times local):
Mississippi secretary of state spokeswoman Leah Rupp Smith says turnout for a heated U.S. Senate runoff is “steady but slow.”
Tuesday’s election pitted a white Republican backed by President Donald Trump against a black Democrat who’s a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary.
Appointed Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy are competing for the final two years of a term started by retired Republican Sen. Thad Cochran.
Zakiya (zah-KEE-ah) Summers is an election commissioner in the state’s largest county, Hinds. She says she hasn’t seen long lines.
Hinds County is largely African-American, and high turnout there is important to Espy as he seeks to become Mississippi’s first black U.S. senator since Reconstruction.
Mississippi voters are deciding the last U.S. Senate race of the midterms, choosing between a white Republican backed by President Donald Trump and a black Democrat who was agriculture secretary when Bill Clinton was in the White House.
History will be made either way in Tuesday’s runoff: Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith would be the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi, and Democrat Mike Espy would be the state’s first African-American senator since Reconstruction.
Mississippi’s racist past became a dominant theme after Hyde-Smith praised a supporter by saying she would attend a “public hanging” if the supporter invited her.
Hyde-Smith was appointed temporary successor to retired Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in April.
Tuesday’s winner gets the last two years of Cochran’s term.