Mississippians Vote in High-Stakes Senate Runoff

We do not need an Alabama’ Hyde Smith has Republicans holding their breath			 0					By		Marta Subat

We do not need an Alabama’ Hyde Smith has Republicans holding their breath 0 By Marta Subat

Trump also cautioned that a Democratic win by Espy could "revoke" gains Republicans make in the Senate earlier this month.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a white former state lawmaker who was appointed to the seat in April, is still favored over black Democrat Mike Espy in the reliably Republican state, which has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1982.

Voters in MS will decide on Tuesday a US Senate special election runoff marked by racial controversy and capped by a last-minute visit by President Donald Trump to shore up the beleaguered Republican incumbent. She said it was "an exaggerated expression of regard".

"I'll vote for Mrs. Smith you know, because being a Republican", said Betty Lechman, a Biloxi-area resident of five decades, at the Edgewater Mall food court table where she and her friends meet every day of the week except Sundays, which are reserved for church.

But Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, from the coastal town of Diamondhead, voted for Hyde-Smith and said neither the "hanging" comments nor Hyde-Smith's appearance in the Confederate hat bothered her. "She's not the sure thing she was a few weeks ago", said Nathan Shrader, a political science professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, the state's biggest city.

Hyde-Smith drew fire for praising a supporter by saying she would attend a "public hanging" if he invited her.

"I will be in Gulfport and Tupelo, Mississippi, on Monday night doing two Rallies for Senator Hyde-Smith, who has a very important Election on Tuesday". Espy, who is black, said her comment was "reprehensible" and "disappointing".

And the tensions continued right up until Election Day with the discovery of seven nooses and six handwritten signs on Capitol grounds Monday morning.

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Opening a political rally in Tupelo, Mississippi - the birthplace of Elvis Presley - President Donald Trump is joking that people used to say he looked like the king of rock "n" roll.

The contest has drawn comparisons to the Alabama Senate special election in December 2017, when Democrat Doug Jones won a narrow victory against Republican Roy Moore, who was accused by multiple women of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers. "We need someone who respects the live of lynch victims", one sign reads. She later apologized "to anyone that was offended".

While most candidates being outed like this would be the kiss of political death, political pundits have speculated that MS is likely to consider Smith's racism a perk.

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. However, in our sample we do not see strong signs of such a lopsided turnout in Espy's favor.

The runoff between Hyde-Smith and Espy is taking place because neither got more than 50 percent of the vote in the midterm election.

Hyde-Smith campaign hammered Espy for his $750,000 lobbying contract in 2011 with the Cocoa and Coffee Board of the Ivory Coast. "They're not putting their best in there, right?" he said.

Espy said he refused to accept plea deals because, "I was so not guilty, I was innocent". "While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them". "Because I was not guilty", Espy told the Associated Press in October.

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