Sunday, December 2, 2018

Bill Crawford: Hyde-Smith Trumps Espy

As expected, Cindy Hyde-Smith trumped Mike Espy in the run-off election to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran.

Yes, trumped, both literally and figuratively – literally because she won handily 54% to 46% and figuratively because President Donald Trump flew into Mississippi the day before the election and stumped for her in Tupelo and Biloxi.

As I wrote three weeks ago, both the politics and the numbers were stacked for Hyde-Smith and against Espy.

Mississippi remains a majority conservative Republican state. Democratic efforts to tilt politics in their favor by painting Hyde-Smith, a decent, rural, conservative woman, as a throw-back segregationist fell on deaf ears among that conservative majority. It seems pretty clear that most of the first election vote for arch-conservative Chris McDaniel turned out for Hyde-Smith (or at least for Trump) and she was able to retain nearly all of her original vote. Indeed, Trump's unwavering support along with strong support from Gov. Phil Bryant kept the politics stacked in Hyde-Smith's favor.

As for the numbers, the strong Republican majority in the first election stacked them in her favor. In that election, Hyde-Smith and McDaniel won 514,549 votes while Espy and Tobey Bartee won 372,819, a huge gap of 141,730 votes. To overcome that gap, Espy needed an historic Democratic voter turnout and a much dwindled GOP turnout to have a chance.

Democratic votes did go up and GOP votes did go down, but not at the levels Espy needed.

Democratic votes were up 37,874 while Republican votes were down 35,271, a swing of 73,145 votes. The turnout in the two races was virtually the same, 2,609 votes more in the run-off, leaving Hyde-Smith with a substantial margin of 68,585 votes (479,278 to 410,693).

"Espy ran a historic race and outperformed all expectations of a Democrat in the ruby-red state of Mississippi," proclaimed Newsweek in its election wrap-up.

In fact, Espy's effort was somewhat less than historic. While his 46% proportion of the total vote was relatively high for a Democrat, his vote total fell well short of Hilary Clinton's 485,131 in 2016 and far short of Barack Obama's 528,260 in 2012. More significant was the lower turnout by Republicans. In 2016 Trump got 700,714 votes and in 2012 Mitt Romney got 674,302.

It's problematic to compare presidential election turnout with mid-term turnout, but these numbers suggest there was some enthusiasm for Espy among Democrats but less enthusiasm for Hyde-Smith among Republicans. This is borne out anecdotally by comments like the following from various media sources:

The only reason I’m voting for her is because she’s a Republican. She’s the best of the worst. I just think she's the less of the two evils. I wish I had somebody else to vote for. I'll hold my nose and vote for Cindy Hyde-Smith. I'll not vote for her again in two years.

Numerous Republicans privately said Hyde-Smith ran a lackluster campaign. Most blamed that on her handlers who kept her off camera and too scripted.

Whatever, Hyde-Smith now has about 12 months in the saddle to show she's the right choice before her next race in 2020.

Oh, lost in all the doodah was one historic event. Mississippi just elected its first woman to Congress. Kudos to her and Gov. Bryant for appointing her.

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.


Anonymous said...

She wins and Missippi still loses, when Cindy opens her mouth much like Trump it's to say something dumb.She has to 2 years and except for the occasional invite from Wicker to showcase funds the state is receiving, you will not hear from her until election time.

Anonymous said...

An interim appointment is a special opportunity for a governor to appoint someone to an office of impeccable qualifications who might not otherwise run or win the office in the usual political cycle. That person then becomes an incumbent and holds whatever advantage comes with that status. Mississippi being the leader in going backwards had a governor whose regressive thoughts did not include such an opportunity, selected a seriously flawed candidate who could not independently garner any support, but would be completely dependent on the party (and the governor) to win. In two years there will be a republican bloodbath rather than the walkover usually reserved for senatorial incumbents. Mississippi's history is loaded with missed opportunities, now we have one more. Oh I wish I was in de land ob cotton ...

Anonymous said...

Seriously doubt that is the game plan 10:23 but you go ahead and keep beating that horse.

Anonymous said...

She is a puppet, all of the hands pulling her strings over the next 2 years will not have her best interest at heart and they will use her for what it's worth. When you get in over your head you drown.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that CHS was only meant to be a placeholder through the end of Cochran's term and should've won in a walk, and the "transition," er, election was meant to be smooth and quiet. Then she opened her mouth, attracted unwanted and unnecessary attention and turned it into a real race, draining party resources. Honestly, I could think of a thousand better qualified candidates to represent the state. She is an embarrassment to the state, and the party needs to seek a better candidate to primary her - the dems won't be fooled again.

Anonymous said...

Is she impressive. Not really.
Is she better than Espy? Absolutely, and it is not close.

Anonymous said...

@10:23 as long as she votes correctly it will be a win for Mississippi. Hey Obama said a lot of dumb stuff and I doubt you said a thing. Its all in the eyes of the beholder.

Anonymous said...

Cindy Hyde-Smith’s success or failure will in large part be determined by the quality of her staff. If she has a well run office it will show well. Also she badly needs a good public information or communications person who can help shape her image going forward and repair damage already done. She has one asset from the start: good congressional committee placement. She is on the senate Agriculture Committee and also on Appropriations. These are two significant committees, especially to Mississippians. The other thing she needs to do immediately is to build up a campaign fund war chest. There’s nothing like locking up the money to keep an opponent out of your race. I think she will grow into the office and be re elected in 2020.

Anonymous said...

It takes a real rubber-head to believe Trump had anything to do with her win. Republicans in this state would have voted for her had Trump been in Yugoslavia instead of Tupelo and Gulfport. To think voters were undecided until Trump barked about her value to the party is pure folly.

This election was about nothing more than a deficient and tainted democrat running against a top-water, do-nothing, unaccomplished republican who should never have been put in the seat on an interim basis to begin with. Phil Bryant will never be able to explain his logic for this one. He almost screwed the pooch.

Anonymous said...

Cindy Hyde-Smith was put there to hold the seat for whoever Haley and company want to put in in 2020. She will do fine if her handlers can convince her that it is better to remain silent and have the world think you a fool than to open your mouth and confirm the fact.

Anonymous said...

Cindy Hyde Smith isn't smart enough to " grow" into the job.
She had to go to a junior college first and even then went to the university with the lowest acceptance requirements.
Her resume doesn't list her as having any academic awards.
She has been and will continue to be taken for granted by the leadership to vote how she's told.
But, then a good education and high IQ and academic awards and graduate degrees are an albatross in MS politics.

Anonymous said...

CHS will be an insignificant Senator who simply repeats Trump’s garbage.

Anonymous said...

12:34, you're kidding right? Many high-profile donors have asked Minnie Pearl to return their contributions, this does not bode well for future fundraising efforts. She should consider herself very fortunate that she got elected, and gracefully step aside to let someone who is qualified run when her term is up.

Anonymous said...

I usually vote conservative and that normally directs to the Republican. I have no problems with Democrats who shows a willingness to consider conservative ideas. Cindy Hyde-Smith was not my idea of a strong conservative woman. MSU alumnae Marsha Blackburn might be a little too right, but she is close to what I consider a strong woman candidate. CHS has always seemed to me to be an Ole Miss beauty queen who is just standing in for some man in her life (Lurleen Wallace, for example). She needs a strong personality transplant to make me think of her in terms of a stateman.

Anonymous said...

The margin between the two parties is now very competitive in Mississippi. Mueller will act soon and Trump will be gone before 2019 and 2020. The GOP will move away from the race issue as fast as possible when Trump is gone and will return to establishment GOP candidates. They will dump Cindy in 2020.

Anonymous said...

CHS is soooooooo bad and yet Espy lost to her. ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

The only reason to vote for CHS was to save Trump from Impeachment. It's doubtful that it even comes up. I think the Dems will investigate/leak and let Trump commit suicide by Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Democrats will not have to start the impeachment process. When the time comes Trump will resign when someone explains asset forfeiture laws to him.

Anonymous said...

The margin between the two parties is now very competitive in Mississippi.

Keep deluding yourself.

Anonymous said...


"a strong conservative woman. MSU alumnae Marsha Blackburn...
CHS has always seemed to me to be an Ole Miss beauty queen who is just standing in for some man in her life "

thanks for your comments Rosebowl, but they're disingenuous. Convicted felons can't vote....

Anonymous said...

The mellon-head who mentioned 'having to go to a junior college' just insulted a third of the college graduates in this state. The school with the lowest acceptance requirements is Mississippi Valley State (Remember Jerry Rice?). I didn't realize she matriculated there.

Anonymous said...

10:39 the new minority speaks.

Anonymous said...

blah, blah, blah -- dumbass pundit(s)...

CHS was the lesser of two bad choices -- it had to be her. As far as the first "woman senator" goes, don't want women, men, blacks, whites, or anyone else in office because of their physical or any other characteristic(s). Screw that -- want someone (anyone, please) who will hold their nose, go and do the job, and then return home to do their real jobs after a while -- not after a damn lifetime of drawing $180K/year plus perks on the tax dole.

Want to get the money out of politics? 12-year cumulative lifetime congressional term limits whether you serve in the house, senate, or both...

Anonymous said...

@ December 2, 2018 at 10:39 PM

The margin between the two parties is now very competitive in Mississippi.........Keep deluding yourself.

You must be a Rankin Republican? Which leads to this, there are literally 3 strongholds for the Mississippi GOP - Rankin County, NE Mississippi, Harrison County. They are strongly red.

Albeit CHS beat Espy by 70,000 votes, 25,000 of that came from Rankin County, giving Republicans in that bubble a false sense of security that the Democrats used to have when it came to the black vote across the country.

There are quite a few counties in Mississippi that have evolved to light pink where CHS edged by Espy +/- 3% and don't assume that those counties had high populations of blacks.

Yalobusha is one example. Yalobusha is 60% white and Espy received 48% of the vote there. That is nothing to sneeze at in a predominately white county.

The Mississippi GOP has depended on making white people socially uncomfortable to even consider voting for Democrats a.k.a "The Liberals"and I will give them credit, because it has worked extremely well for them. But in 2018 that stuff is starting to grow old, especially considering the condition of this state, we are in last place in every good category and in first place in every bad category.

CHS kept repeating stale talking points about "Mississippi Conservative values" - an AquaNet abuser from New York City telling Mississippians that Mike Espy is not a "true Mississippian"

Then the Mississippi GOP is going to roll out Tate Reeves to be the next Governor of this state? Someone that has been promoted twice while help guide along terrible economic policies, while enriching those around him in Rankin County, while ignoring poor whites in Yalobusha, Grenada, Montgomery, Attala, Leake, Covington, and Wayne County's

Those people in the aforementioned counties know how they have been ignored by the Mississippi GOP and the opportunity is there for Mississippi Democrat's to flip those counties.

Anonymous said...

Strategy is to give money to someone you don't support then publicly ask for it back to make a headline.

I tried to stop on 55 frontage to help Mike pick up his signs the day after. I was pissed that he had to to that himself and his inner team did not handle that for him-that bothered me. The Espys are Delta Royalty and I am surprised that he did not win the blackest state in the country.

What have we come to--He should have had more support.

Anonymous said...

Here comes General Hood, and Epsy round 2, the good ole boys better hope things don't get any worst than it already is. Even in Mississippi the surburan educated voter is beginning to make enrodes, soon they will be in the majority here too.

Anonymous said...

Love the statistical gymnastics. Let us know when y'all actually win something at the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

7:58 when you cry voter fraud next year we will know.

Anonymous said...

@ December 3, 2018 at 7:58 AM

Love the statistical gymnastics. Let us know when y'all actually win something at the ballot box.

You are correct, it does boil down to winning. But the MSGOP and all the elected officials they have in office, better wake up and realize that Mississippians are starting to want results to go with those votes they handed to them.

Ignore the statistics all you want, but they are proof that Mississippi politics is evolving past white vs. black.

And to add fuel to the fire Rep. Robert Roster (R-DeSoto) is talking about getting in the race for Governor. LOL! You guys thought Chris McDaniel was something else, wait until Foster gets in the big picture. He's so far to the right, he makes Chris McDaniel look like a "Liberal" LMAO!

Anonymous said...

There are no statistics that prove crap about any shift anywhere. A flawed GOP candidate won by a smaller margin than usual. Espy loss was not a victory, it was a loss, an embarrassing loss. It was no harbinger of anything except that another Democrat lost again. There isn't some leftward lurch underway in Mississippi no matter how many arcane alt-factoids the "journalists" at MT or the JFP pull out of their asses.

As for Foster, when he shows up with a multi-million dollar war chest please let us know. Otherwise he's only an inconsequential publicity seeking first-term gnat who doesn't have a hope in Hades of winning the GOP primary for ANY statewide office.

Anonymous said...

Espy had a chance to get a lot of voters by being a statesman. He could not do it. When CHS said the stupid thing about public hanging , he could not resist playing the race card. If he had said she didn't say lynching and that Mississippi use to have hangings for murders and that it was foolish but innocuous , he would have been gracious and seemingly not race baiting. But, as we saw, he couldn't and played the race card. I hate the continuing trying to divide the races by being outraged at nothing!

Anonymous said...

One who speaks the truth does not race bait.

Anonymous said...

5:39 pm CHS is " too much like an Ole Miss beauty queen"??????

You must be legally blind and deaf.

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