Why Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi’s first congresswoman, is running from history


This is the second article in a two-part profile on Mississippi’s first woman in Congress, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. Read Part I here.
A few weeks into his first session in the Mississippi Senate, Sen. Billy Hudson, R-Hattiesburg, felt a tap on his shoulder as he sat at his desk reviewing legislation. He turned around to see his colleague, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, at that point in her third term as a Democratic state senator, grinning at him.

“She told me, ‘Hudson you don’t need to read these bills. If I want you to vote yes, I’ll slap you on your right ear. If I want you to vote no, I’ll slap you on your left ear.'”

Of course, Hyde-Smith was joking — at least about the ear slapping. But if it seems unlikely that Hudson, a Republican, would take the voting advice of Hyde-Smith, then a Democrat, he said it shouldn’t.

“She voted as conservative—or more so—than me (in the state Senate),” Hudson said. “I never thought of her as a Democrat or a moderate or a liberal. And her record proves that. Her record bears that out.”
Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi TodayU.S. Senate Republican candidate Chris McDaniel gives his political speech during the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss. 
State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, has seized on Hyde-Smith’s history as a Democrat and in particular her vote in the 2008 Democratic primary, when he claims Hyde-Smith cast a ballot for then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton for president.
In doing so, McDaniel — a Republican, who, along with Democrats former U.S. Rep. Mike Espy and Tobey Bartee, faces off against Hyde-Smith in an officially nonpartisan Nov. 6 special election — hopes Republican voters see in Hyde-Smith a power-thirsty opportunist in the mold of Clinton.
Earlier this month, McDaniel’s campaign debuted a new online ad. The video opens with a still of