Espy lost a runoff to Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) earlier this week to fill the remaining two years of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) term.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) is projected to defeat challenger Mike Espy (D) in Mississippi’s U.S. Senate run off.
Use the comments to track the results as they come in.
Geoffrey Skelley: “We don’t often see a runoff in a general election, but if Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith were to lose Mississippi’s Senate runoff on Tuesday, after the two Republican candidates combined to win a sizable majority of the initial vote, that would be even more unusual.”
“In the first round, Republicans Hyde-Smith and Chris McDaniel combined for a bit less than 58 percent of the vote, while Democrat Mike Espy and one other candidate from his party together won a little more than 42 percent. For Espy to win, the runoff vote has to swing more than 15 points more Democratic than the initial vote margin.”
“But if we look at the five Senate elections since 1990 where an initial round of voting was held on the national Election Day and two candidates advanced to a runoff, no challenger has ever come close to outperforming the previous round of voting by the kind of margin Espy would need to win.”
President Obama recorded a robocall that ran in Mississippi last night, though he did not mention U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy (D) by name.
Said Obama: “My name may not be on the ballot, but our future is, and that’s why I believe this is one of the most important elections in our lifetime. Make a plan to vote tomorrow. I’m counting on you to be in line to vote before polls close.”
Two nooses were found hanging at the Mississippi State Capitol Monday morning around 7:15 a.m., WLBT reports.
NBC News: “Hate signs also were found, although it unclear what they said or if the signs referenced the racially charged runoff Senate election taking place Tuesday between Democrat Mike Espy, who is black, and Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.”
James Hohmann: “If tomorrow’s special election in Mississippi is a referendum on President Trump, Republicans will win. That’s why he will hold not one but two rallies tonight for appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.”
“Elections have become more nationalized and more polarized in the Trump era. Both trends work to the GOP’s advantage in this final federal election of 2018. Trump carried Mississippi by 18 points in 2016. For context, he won both Indiana and Missouri by 19 points. These are two of the four states where Republican challengers knocked off Democratic incumbents in the midterms.”
“There has been frustratingly little reliable public polling in this contest. Both sides agree that Hyde-Smith is ahead but that her lead has narrowed in recent weeks.”
“Republicans think Cindy Hyde-Smith will ultimately pull out a win in Mississippi’s special Senate election on Tuesday. But they say the race has tightened — and after what happened in Alabama last year, they’re on edge,” Politico reports.
“A swirl of controversy surrounding the Republican senator — stirred up by her comment about attending a “public hanging” — has given Democrat Mike Espy momentum in the home stretch, officials from both parties say. Hyde-Smith has never trailed in polling, and Democrats acknowledge she’s likely to win, but they argue that her flubs have given Espy a very narrow opening if everything breaks his way.”
President Trump tweeted his support for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) a day before he heads to the state to rally support for the embattled senator in her runoff election.
Said Trump: “She is an outstanding person who is strong on the Border, Crime, Military, our great Vets, Healthcare & the 2nd A. Needed in D.C.”
The Hill: Hundreds planning to protest Trump’s visit to Mississippi.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) “once promoted a measure that praised a Confederate soldier’s effort to ‘defend his homeland’ and pushed a revisionist view of the Civil War,” CNN reports.
“Hyde-Smith, a Republican, faces Mike Espy, a Democratic former congressman and agriculture secretary, in Tuesday’s runoff in Mississippi — the final Senate race to be decided in 2018. The measure… is the latest in a series of issues that have surfaced during her campaign, many of which have evoked Mississippi’s dark history of racism and slavery.”
“Cindy Hyde-Smith’s embattled bid for another two years in the Senate hit another race-related hurdle this weekend, as a report in a Mississippi newspaper revealed the Republican incumbent graduated high school at a segregation academy,” Politico reports.
“A photograph from the 1975 edition of the Lawrence County Academy yearbook, published Friday by the Jackson Free Press, appears to show Hyde-Smith among a group of cheerleaders — including a mascot holding a Confederate flag who appears to be wearing a costume imitating a Confederate general’s uniform. A sophomore girl in the picture is identified in the caption as Cindy Hyde.”
In his closing ad before Mississippi’s U.S. Senate seat run off on November 27, Mike Espy (D) deftly ties Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s (R) “public hanging” remarks to potential harm to Mississippi’s state economy.
Cook Political Report: “Republicans are fairly confident they will win, though they acknowledge that the race has closed and Hyde-Smith is ahead by just five points… There hasn’t been a public poll released in the race since the middle of October.”
“The biggest unknown in this race is the degree to which voters are engaged enough to head to the polls. They are certainly being bombarded with ads across all media platforms, but they are also thinking about Thanksgiving, college football, Black Friday bargains and holiday decorating. Where does going to the polls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving fit on that list of priorities?”
“The odds of Hyde-Smith winning this contest are far greater than of Democrats pulling an upset, but observers might be surprised by how close the margin ends up being. The race will remain in the Lean Republican column.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) “apologized on Tuesday for making a comment about public hangings, but accused her black Democratic opponent in a special election runoff of twisting her words for political gain,” Reuters reports.
“The comment set off a furor in Mississippi, a state scarred by a history of racism and violence against blacks, including lynching. Until Tuesday, Hyde-Smith had refused to apologize or explain the remarks.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) “demanded there be no audience or outside press allowed at tonight’s U.S. Senate debate and requested other restrictions, the Jackson Free Press reports.
“When she faces off against Democratic challenger Mike Espy at 7 p.m., only the debate moderator, panelists and the production team will be allowed in the auditorium—a requirement the Hyde-Smith campaign pushed for and the Espy team argued against.”
“Hyde-Smith took the photo during a 2014 visit to the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library… Davis was the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and his former estate now includes a library and museum in his honor.”
Walmart asked Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) to return its campaign donation after the retail giant was criticized for supporting the lawmaker after she made controversial comments about attending a hypothetical “public hanging,” CNBC reports.
“Republicans hoped to spend the final days of the special election in Mississippi coronating Cindy Hyde-Smith as the first woman to represent the state in the Senate. Instead, the race has become a bare-knuckle brawl infused with ugly racial politics,” Politico reports.
“Hyde-Smith’s comments about attending a public hanging and suppressing liberal votes — remarks she maintained were made in jest — have upended a contest that a week ago was seen as a mere formality for the GOP.”
New York Times: “Facing an uproar in a state divided by race and deeply scarred by a history of lynchings carried out against African-Americans, Ms. Hyde-Smith has since retreated from the campaign trail, ducking reporters’ questions and declining to apologize.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) accepted a donation from Peter Sieve, a businessman in Washington state known for his white supremacist views, just days after a video published by Bayou Brief surfaced in which she says she would be “on the front row” if a supporter invited her to “a public hanging,” the Jackson Free Press reports.
“A U.S. Senate runoff that was supposed to provide an easy Republican win has turned into an unexpectedly competitive contest, driving Republicans and Democrats to pour in resources and prompting a planned visit by President Trump to boost his party’s faltering candidate,” the Washington Post reports.
“Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith stumbled recently when, in praise of a supporter, she spoke of her willingness to sit with him in the front row of a public hanging — words that, in the South, evoked images of lynchings. She has struggled to grapple with the fallout, baffling members of her party and causing even faithful Republicans to consider voting for her opponent, former congressman Mike Espy.”
“That Espy is attempting to become the state’s first black senator since shortly after the Civil War made her remarks all the more glaring.”
Politico reports President Trump has scheduled a rally for later this month help Hyde-Smith’s candidacy.
A video surfaced of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS saying it might be a “great idea” to make it harder for some people to vote, and her campaign quickly responded that she was “obviously” joking, NBC News reports.
Said Hyde-Smith: “And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who … maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”