Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith should be romping to victory in her US Senate runoff in Mississippi, but the race is close enough that President Donald Trump will host two in-state rallies for her on the eve of the November 27, 2018 election (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)
Washington (AFP) – The final twist in the US midterm elections may emerge in Mississippi, where a Senate race that should have been easy winnings for Donald Trump’s party is headed to a runoff, after multiple stumbles by the Republican incumbent.
The president is counting on the reliably Republican stronghold in the Deep South, where political battles are rarely on the national radar, to give him some breathing room with his majority in the 100-member Senate.
The runoff is looking increasingly important for Trump. On election night, he could have argued that his Republicans held their ground, as Democrats eked out a win in the House.
But as results were tallied in the weeks since, Democrats now appear to have won about 40 House seats, their strongest victory in decades, and managed to hold their own in the Senate despite an unfavorable election map.
Aware of the potential that the November 27 runoff goes badly for Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Trump has scheduled election-eve rallies with her in two cities in Mississippi, a state Trump won by nearly 18 percentage points in 2016.
The tight Senate race in Florida flipping to the Republicans helped improve the narrative for Trump. If the party keeps Mississippi, Republicans will widen their narrow pre-election 51-49 majority to 53-47.