Mississippi representative says there’s room to grow after Cindy Hyde-Smith is elected

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mississippians say they're breaking barriers by electing the first woman to Congress in the state's history, but some say while they see progress across the country, it's not necessarily playing out in the state capitol.

Cindy Hyde-Smith fended off Democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday in a heated and nationally-watched race marked by racial tensions.

"You know I am the first female, so that's pretty special in itself," Hyde-Smith said on election night.

Mississippi became the 49th state to elect a woman to Congress and set a new record of women in the U.S. Senate.

"We can cross that off our list. We have passed that boundary," Hyde-Smith said.

Mississippi state Rep. Sally Doty says while she's proud to see another woman in Washington at the state level, the number of women elected has actually decreased.

"We have gone from about 16 percent to about 12 percent. It still is difficult for a woman to be elected in Mississippi," she said.

Hyde-Smith says she hopes to make her mark again when she runs to keep the seat.

Tennessee also made history this election by electing Marsha Blackburn as the first woman in the state to the U.S. Senate.

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