Alphonso Michael Espy (born November 30, 1953) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 25th United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1993 to 1994. He was both the first African American and first person from the Deep South to hold the position. A member of the Democratic Party, Espy previously served as the U.S. representative for Mississippi's 2nd congressional district from 1987 to 1993. In March 2018, Espy announced his candidacy for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Thad Cochran. Espy lost in the November 6 nonpartisan special election before facing Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith in a November 27 runoff. Espy was defeated by Hyde-Smith, but garnered more than 46 percent of the vote in what was the closest U.S. Senate election in Mississippi since 1988. He was the Democratic nominee again in the 2020 election, losing by ten percentage points against Hyde-Smith in a rematch.
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