Unofficially, nearly 900,000 Mississippians cast ballots Tuesday in the state’s special election to decide who will fill the remainder of the term for Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired earlier this year due to health reasons.

Officially, Election Day enthusiasm was hard to miss.

The day began early for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and former congressman Mike Espy, and ended late with both candidates headed into a post-Thanksgiving runoff. In the state’s other Senate race, Sen. Roger Wicker scored a decisive victory over state Rep. David Baria from the Coast.

Mississippi Today photojournalist Eric J. Shelton hit the trail also to capture Election Day images of the candidates and Mississippi voters.

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Eric J. Shelton was a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018. He rejoined Mississippi Today as our health photojournalist in January 2022.