Following Espy’s lead, Hyde-Smith embraces history-maker mantle as election nears

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As a run-off between former U.S Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith becomes more likely, the candidates are embracing their historic potential of their candidacies
Moments after Gov. Phil Bryant walked off the stage at Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob Thursday morning, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith did something she’d never done before — publicly embraced her role as the first woman Mississippi has ever sent to Congress.
She did so on Twitter, retweeting Bryant’s quote from his speech. “I think having the first woman from Mississippi serving in the U.S. Senate is going to be really good,” Bryant posted.
Although Hyde-Smith’s appointment to the U.S. Senate in April made history, for months now on the campaign trail Hyde-Smith has avoided mentioning this milestone. She has also declined to talk about the fact that if she wins the Nov. 6 special election, she will make history yet again, this time as the first woman Mississippi has elected to Congress.
In a profile published last week, Mississippi Today talked to Hyde-Smith about this strategy. At the time, Hyde-Smith said: “It’s really not intentional. I just don’t think about gender that much.”
This week, Hyde-Smith elaborated more on the significance of her position in the Senate.
“A report came out last week that said she doesn’t go out and tell people she’s female. I think you can tell I’m a woman. I’m very proud I’m a woman, and I do think it’s a lot of opportunity. It’s not a gender issue. It’s about qualifications. It’s about the best person there. But I am elated when I have women tell me that you’re such an encourager for the women in this state,” Hyde-Smith told reporters after her speech Thursday.
Hyde-Smith is running in the officially nonpartisan Nov. 6 special election against three other candidates: fellow Republican, state Sen. Chris