Hyde-Smith Falsely Claims Trump’s Support

“A fundraising letter from Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) says that President Trump and Vice President Pence support her, but to-date neither has endorsed her and the White House has reportedly expressed concern over her candidacy,” the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

“Supporters of Republican candidate Chris McDaniel (R) — who has urged Trump to endorse him, or at least not endorse Hyde-Smith — cried foul over the letter.”

Espy and Hyde-Smith Running Even In Mississippi

A new Triumph Campaigns poll in Mississippi finds Mike Espy (D) and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) neck and neck in the special election to replace Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), 33% to 33%. They are followed by Chris McDaniel (R) at 13% and Jason Shelton (D) at 6%.

The special election will not have party primaries and is likely to go to a runoff.

In head-to-head matchups, Hyde-Smith leads Espy, 42% to 36%, while Espy leads McDaniel, 43% to 24%.

Missouri Senate Candidate Walks the Trump Tightrope

Associated Press: “He is one of the Republican Party’s most-prized recruits, a young U.S. Senate candidate with an outsider resume and a populist message designed to appeal equally to farmers, suburban moms and the national GOP’s moneyed elite.”

“But things get complicated when you ask Josh Hawley about President Trump. Hawley, who launched a Republican Senate bid in Missouri less than a year after being elected state attorney general, won’t say whether he considers the Republican president a role model.”

Runoff In Mississippi Is Very Possible

The Washington Post reports that Mississippi Senate appointee Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) sat down yesterday with White House officials, who weren’t too keen on her when Gov. Phil Bryant (R) named her for the seat last week.

First Read: “At issue, among other things, is Hyde-Smith’s past as a former Democrat, which some Republicans worry could hamper her run against conservative firebrand Chris McDaniel, who’s also seeking the seat. Keep in mind that, if no candidate between Hyde-Smith, McDaniel and Democratic candidate Mike Espy gets to 50% of the vote on Election Day, we’ll be in for a runoff.”

McDaniel tweets: “It sounds like the WH is on the right track in refusing to endorse Cindy Hyde-Smith but this should help them make a final decision.”

Another Republican May Run for Cochran’s Seat

Author and attorney Andy Taggart (R) said he is “very seriously considering running” for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Thad Cochran, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

“Taggart’s statement comes a day after Gov. Phil Bryant (R) announced he will appoint Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to Cochran’s seat temporarily and support her election to the post in November. It also comes amid Bryant facing some Republican backlash over his choice.”

“Many establishment GOP leaders in Mississippi and Washington, including Taggart and White House advisers, have questioned Bryant’s choice. They fear Hyde-Smith, who served for years as a Democratic state Senator, would be vulnerable to a challenge from the right or left.”

Earlier for members: How Democrats Could Pick Up a Senate Seat in Mississippi

White House Opposes Pick to Replace Cochran

“White House officials this week told Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) that President Trump did not plan to campaign for or endorse Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) if she was appointed to the state’s open Senate seat, saying they were worried that the former Democrat would lose,” Politico reports.

“Bryant responded that he intended to go ahead and pick Hyde-Smith for the post, anyway. He’s expected to formally announce the selection Wednesday.”

“Republicans are deeply concerned that Chris McDaniel, an anti-establishment conservative state senator who is running for the seat, will use Hyde-Smith’s past party affiliation against her in the race.”

Bryant Narrows List for Cochran Replacement

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said that his pick for an interim replacement for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) would come “sooner rather than later,” the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.

“Most folks are taking that to mean sometime this week.”

“And the Republican governor’s short list — according to numerous sources — has gotten short indeed: Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves — who had been Bryant’s top pick — doesn’t want the job largely because he has young children and doesn’t want to move his family to Washington, instead looking at a gubernatorial run in 2019.”

Bryant Urged to Appoint Himself to Senate Seat

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has told Republicans that President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have urged him to appoint himself to the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran, who is retiring early due to health issues, the AP reports.

Bryant is limited to two terms as governor, and his time in that job ends in January 2020.

Espy Says He’ll Run for Cochran’s Seat

Former Rep. Mike Espy (D-MS) announced his “strong intention to run” for the U.S. Senate seat Thad Cochran announced he’ll leave April 1, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.

“Espy served as a Democrat in the U.S. House representing the 2nd District from 1987 to 1993 — the first African-American to hold a Mississippi congressional seat since Reconstruction, then served as secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration, the first African-American to hold that post.”

Wicker Gets a Primary Challenge

Chris McDaniel (R) is expected to announce later this week that he will wage a 2018 primary challenge against Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Politico reports.

“McDaniel’s plans have been the subject of speculation for months. With the 80-year-old Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) health in decline, many believed that McDaniel would run for the seat should it become vacant.”