Trump holds Biloxi, Mississippi rally for embattled Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith
30 November, 2018, 06:27 | Author: Lucy Floyd
MS is preparing for a US Senate run-off on Tuesday between Republican senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy in a contest that has increasingly taken on racial overtones.
But on Monday, he painted Democrats as radical and risky as he stumped for Republican Sen.
Mr Espy is trying to become the first African-American US senator from MS since Reconstruction.
Hyde-Smith could use the president's help after being criticized for weeks for her comments that alluded to the state's history of slavery and racism as well as making voting harder for students at some universities.
Hyde-Smith's runoff election against Espy, a former congressman and US agriculture secretary, has been far closer than expected thanks to a series of racial controversies, including a photo that emerged of Hyde-Smith wearing a replica hat of a Confederate soldier, and a video in which she said she'd be "on the front row" if invited to a public hanging.
"She certainly didn't mean that and it was taken a certain way, but she certainly didn't mean it", he said.
One Republican working on the runoff who requested anonymity to discuss private polling said the race has tightened recently, but expressed confidence Hyde-Smith would be elected. They also stuck by her as a photo was circulated of her wearing a replica Confederate military hat during a 2014 visit to Beauvoir, the last home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
Corporate donors including Walmart Inc. and Pfizer Inc. have demanded that Hyde-Smith return their campaign contributions after she remarked earlier this month that she'd take a front-row seat at a "public hanging", evoking the state's ugly history of lynchings.
Hyde-Smith, who initially refused to apologize for the hanging remark, said last week she was sorry "for anyone that was offended" and accused Espy of twisting her words for political gain.
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.
Angie Thomas is author of the young adult novel "The Hate U Give", about the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. Thomas, 31, cast a ballot for Espy at the same precinct where he voted.
She has recently come under controversy for remarks she made referencing "public hangings", and for once supporting a resolution aimed at praising a Confederate solder's effort to "defend his homeland".
"This is a campaign that goes to the colour line and it reached across the colour line, across the chasm of racial division, across the chasm of racial acrimony", Espy said. Sometimes, race is something that people don't want to discuss because it's so uncomfortable.
GULFPORT, MISS-Republicans in MS may not be in love with Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year after longtime Sen.
Particularly significant was his praise for former Senator Thad Cochran, the longtime Republican officeholder who retired early this year. Tuesday's victor will serve the last two years of Cochran's six-year term.
Hyde-Smith, 59, has touted her support for Trump and her endorsement by the president, who won MS by 18 percentage points in 2016.
One sign referred to the Tuesday runoff between appointed Republican Sen.
MS last elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1982, but Espy was trying for the same kind of long-shot win that fellow Democrat Doug Jones had almost a year ago in neighbouring Alabama, another conservative state.
Espy, 64, has campaigned as a moderate who would work with Trump and Republicans to benefit the state.
Espy spoke for almost 30 minutes Monday to a crowd of about 200 people gathered at church in Jackson. Hyde-Smith won 41 percent of the vote November 6, Espy 40 percent, and McDaniel 17 percent, eliminating McDaniel for the runoff. Were he to win, Espy would become the first black senator from the state since Reconstruction.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is looking for several suspects believed responsible for placing a pair of nooses and signs on the Mississippi state Capitol grounds Monday morning.
Hyde-Smith remains a narrow favourite to win. She noted that the country's ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, is being tried in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
At the first of two Election Eve rallies President Trump encouraged the crowd in Tupelo to "get out" and vote in Tuesday's runoff election. "I resigned the contract".
The state has voted reliably Republican for the past 30 years.
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MS - which still has the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag - has a history of racially motivated lynchings. Donald Trump praised Ms Hyde-Smith as he headed to Mississippi to lead two rallies for the senator.
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The outcome will not alter control of the Senate, but a Hyde-Smith win seals a 53-47 Republican majority in the chamber. She rode around in a bus dubbed the "MAGA Wagon" and touted how she voted with Trump "100 percent of the time".
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The news comes just one day after Johnson and his wife, Ann, also donated $2,700 each to Hyde-Smith's campaign. Her campaign said it was a joke. " MLB has requested that the contribution be returned, " ESPN reported ".
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