In particular, he seems to have benefited from a motivated black electorate. With some ballots still to be counted, turnout for the runoff has met or surpassed its Nov. 6 level in a dozen of the state’s 82 counties. And of those dozen counties, eight are majority-black, mostly in the Delta region, where Espy racked up enormous margins.
Espy’s statewide total was also helped by the suburbs, especially fast-growing DeSoto County, which abuts the Tennessee border and has become a hotspot for Memphis commuters. Here, Espy collected 41 percent of the vote, far better than recent Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton (31 percent in 2016) and Barack Obama (33 percent in 2012, and 30 percent in 2008).
…[Espy] suffered in many heavily white rural areas, especially in the northeast corner of the state, where Hyde-Smith ran close to — and in a few cases even matched — the levels of support Donald Trump received in 2016.