Published: Fri, November 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Mississippi's ugly past casts long shadow on Senate election

Mississippi's ugly past casts long shadow on Senate election

MS voters will head to the polls in the final midterm race of the election season.

Since the comments, the runoff election between Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy in the ruby red state has become increasingly close, with some Republicans fearing the party may see a repeat of what happened in the Alabama special election previous year that saw Democrat Doug Jones defeat Roy Moore. President Donald Trump rallied voters Monday for Republican Senate appointee Cindy Hyde-Smith, who has found herself in a closer-than-expected runoff contest after comments she made about attending a public hanging drew condemnation.

While Mississippi is a solidly Republican state, special elections are notoriously hard to predict as they tend to have low turnout. In an apparent effort to praise him, she told rancher Colin Hutchinson, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row". The comment stirred deep feelings in MS, where lynchings of black people were once commonplace.

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Mississippi had the highest number of lynchings in the nation from 1882 to 1968.

Addressing his supporters Tuesday night, Espy said: "While this is not the result we were hoping for, I am proud of the historic campaign we ran and grateful for the support we received across Mississippi".

But Republicans CBS News spoke with were much more likely to be there to support the president than Hyde-Smith, although some acknowledged that her winning will help his agenda. No surprise there. To see her full videos, flip page.

Dianne Swennumson and her husband have supported Republicans in the past but say they're appalled by Mr. Trump's rhetoric and behavior.

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.

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State and federal investigators are trying to find out who hung seven nooses in trees outside the Mississippi Capitol early Monday.

The sign also read: 'We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims'. "I wish we could be like Alabama who had enough with Roy Moore, you know". A win for the GOP in MS would further pad the party's majority in the Senate, even as Democrats have taken a solid majority in the House.

Trippi advised Jones during his improbable win in Alabama a year ago, and emphasized that Jones won by only 23,000 votes despite facing a historically bad opponent who motivated Democratic voters and depressed GOP turnout.

Espy and Hyde-Smith, who would be the state's first elected female senator, are vying for the seat that was long held by Sen.

If white voters outnumber black voters two-to-one on Tuesday, Espy would have to win 30 percent or more of white votes, a tough task in a state with possibly the most racially polarised electorate in the country. Indeed, the next thing I expect to hear from Major League Baseball regarding its community involvement or attitudes toward race is when it pats itself on the back for donating some equipment to an inner-city Little League team or for issuing the same, mildly-reworked statement it makes every year regarding Jackie Robinson. Hyde-Smith's mother was a hairdresser and her father was a trucker.

Why is the election still ongoing?

Republicans think Cindy Hyde-Smith will ultimately pull out a win in Mississippi's special Senate election on Tuesday.

Under the state's law, if no candidate wins over 50% of the votes, a runoff election must take place. Espy is trying for the same kind of longshot win fellow Democrat Doug Jones had almost a year ago in neighboring Alabama, another conservative Deep South state where Republicans hold most statewide offices.

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