Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Trump Rallies in MS for Embattled Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

Nooses found outside Mississippi legislature day before Senate vote Trump in Mississippi to Rally for Hyde-Smith
Leonard Rios | 30 November, 2018, 11:28

Hyde-Smith was appointed to the position earlier this year after Senator Thad Cochran stepped down due to health issues.

Hyde-Smith and Espy emerged from a field of four candidates November 6 to advance to Tuesday's runoff.

There was a backlash when this statement became widely publicized, and numerous big corporations that had sent campaign contributions to Hyde-Smith asked for their money back, including Google, Walmart, AT&T, Union Pacific, Pfizer and Boston Scientific.

The historic contest features Hyde-Smith, who would be the first woman elected to Congress from MS, against Espy, who's vying to become the state's first black senator since Reconstruction.

MS - which still has the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag - has a history of racially motivated lynchings. And they also object to the negative ads inundating their television screens weeks after most of the country's midterm races were decided.

"I think Espy supporters are probably a little more energized than Hyde-Smith", Barbour said.

Trump says that when he was young, "other than the blond hair, they said I looked like Elvis". "But it's not going to happen", Lechman added. But they say the appearances will provide a spark to their voters, too.

But in MS, the only state that still has Confederate insignia on its flag, allegations of racism don't carry the same political toxicity as accusations of sexual impropriety that involve minors.

As of Monday, Cranmer wasn't sure if she'd be voting.

Several of her comments were made just before the November 6 vote but not widely publicized until afterwards.

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The View's Meghan McCain came out swinging against apparently racist Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde Smith, saying she was a bad candidate and an embarrassment to the party. Hyde-Smith and McConnell by Fox News weren't immediately returned.

"This is just an unbelievable night", Hyde-Smith told supporters at a post-election event in Jackson.

"If you let Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Chuck Schumer win the Mississippi Senate seat, they will try to erase all of our gains, reverse all of our progress and impose - you know this - they want to impose their extreme job-killing agenda".

At the debate with Hyde-Smith, Espy embraced the slogan "Mississippi first", a transparent tribute to Trump, declaring, "Mississippi first means I value MS over everything else - over party, over persons, over everybody". Lindsey Graham, the tiger of the fight to confirm Justice Kavanaugh, who reminded the crowd of Hyde-Smith's vote on then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Given the uncertainty about voter turnout, and Hyde-Smith's visible deficiencies as a candidate and public speaker, Republican state and national officials have openly expressed concern that the runoff could produce an upset victory for the Democrat, like that won by Doug Jones in Alabama a year ago, when he narrowly defeated the ultra-right Republican nominee Roy Moore.

Espy, 64, has campaigned as a moderate who would work with Trump and Republicans to benefit the state. And sure enough, Tuesday's runoff election isn't on everyone's radar here. He has said the comment perpetuated negative stereotypes about MS and hurt investment.

Hyde-Smith was projected to win by about 70,000 votes over Espy, a former congressman and agriculture secretary under Barack Obama. She said it was "an exaggerated expression of regard". Whose judgement was it that a donation to her campaign, in that amount, at that particular time, made sense? During a televised debate nine days after the video was publicized, she apologized to "anyone that was offended by my comments", but also said the remark was used as a "weapon" against her. "Up until that point I thought well maybe - maybe I could at least be accepting". Espy would be the first African-American to represent the state in the Senate since Reconstruction.

"I grew up here in Jim Crow era..." You or I could have done the same thing.

She isn't optimistic about Espy's chances, but she's voting for him. "I am an independent person and I will be an independent senator", he said.

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