Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will win Mississippi's Senate election Tuesday, holding a GOP seat despite comments that stoked racial tensions in the state and sparked backlash from donors, NBC News projects.
The GOP senator will defeat Democratic former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy in the special election runoff, the final 2018 congressional race. Hyde-Smith will serve the remainder of GOP Sen. Thad Cochran's term through 2020. She was appointed to succeed the ailing lawmaker earlier this year.
Hyde-Smith's victory secures a 53-47 majority for Senate Republicans in the next Congress, which starts in January. It gives President Donald Trump a boost, as he will push for the confirmation of more conservative judges and potential changes to the U.S. tax code and health care system. Democrats will take control of the House in January, making it tougher for the GOP to reach its policy goals.
Hyde-Smith, 59, becomes the first woman elected to the Senate from Mississippi.