Cindy Hyde-Smith is her own woman — she just doesn’t want anyone to know it

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In this image from video provided by Senate TV, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., speaks on the Senate floor about her vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 in the Capitol in Washington. Sen Shelly Capito, R-W.Va., sits rear left and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith sits right. (Senate TV via AP)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — By sunset, newly appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith had been going for over 12 hours.
When she wasn’t on the Senate floor, where she’d voted the morning of Oct. 5 to begin Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, she was at the National Republican Senatorial Committee offices conducting a tele-town hall and multiple calls with supporters. Most Fridays, Hyde-Smith would be back in Mississippi, campaigning for the special election, just 32 days away. But the Kavanaugh vote held the Senate hostage. Campaigning over the phone would have to do.

Meanwhile, outside the NRSC offices on Second Street, Victoria Lord had also had a long day. The D.C. resident, who came out to protest Kavanaugh’s nomination, had been holding up her “Believe Survivors” poster long enough that the guards inside the building had called the police on her three times.

She felt discouraged and angry. That afternoon she had watched Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, give a speech on the Senate floor, announcing that she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Behind Collins during the 45-minute speech, at desks normally occupied by male colleagues, sat two Republican women, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, and Hyde-Smith.

Later, Hyde-Smith, who was appointed this spring to fill retiring Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat, would explain the decision to sit behind Collins as a spontaneous “thing to make her feel more comfortable” rather than a calculated move. But having three women fill the camera lens was also a visual argument that Republicans could support