Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Mississippi's ugly past casts long shadow on Senate election

Cindy Hyde Smith and Donald Trump Modal Trigger Cindy Hyde Smith and Donald Trump Getty Images
Gerardo Duncan | 28 November, 2018, 03:25

Several nooses were found hanging outside of the Mississippi Capitol building on Monday, a day ahead of a highly anticipated and controversial special election in the state.

The nooses and signs were removed after being reported to the Capitol Police. The comment has become a major talking point in the lead-up to the state's special election on November 27, where Hyde-Smith faces Democrat challenger Mike Espy - a former secretary of agriculture and congressman who in 1986 became the first African-American to represent MS at the federal level since Reconstruction - in one of the closest senatorial races in the state in recent memory.

Hyde-Smith previously faced bitter criticism for comments she made during a campaign event, in which she expressed a desire to attend a "public hanging" with one of her supporters. MS is preparing for a U.S. Senate runoff Tuesday between Republican Sen.

Donald Trump praised Ms Hyde-Smith as he headed to Mississippi to lead two rallies for the senator.

Espy, meanwhile, said on Monday he knew nothing about the nooses or signs, and added it would be "unfair" to make any connection between the items and Hyde-Smith. Espy would move in lockstep with Democratic leaders in Washington including, "the legendary Maxine Waters", Mr. Trump said, referring to the liberal California congresswoman who has been a cheerleader for impeachment.

Of the need to elect Hyde-Smith, he said "We need every last Republican vote in the United States Senate", to defend tax cuts, deregulation, 2nd Amendment rights, to confirm "great judicial nominees" and to "keep the criminals and drug dealers and terrorist the hell out of our country". Cindy Hyde-Smith's campaign to return thousands in donations stemming from her "public hanging" comments. She later apologized "to anyone that was offended".

MS has a history of racially motivated lynchings. Espy said during a speech on Monday night at a predominantly African American church. Officials say they will release pictures of the signs and nooses later Monday.

Like a lot of Mississippi Republicans, Smith seems willing to forgive the senator for some of the eyebrow-raising remarks she's made in recent weeks. His campaign spokesman, Danny Blanton, said Hyde-Smith's "toxic comments are scaring away the kind of investments our state needs to move forward" and costing MS jobs.

"Let me be perfectly clear - there is absolutely no place in our state for these unacceptable symbols or tactics to intimidate others", Hurst said".

It was not immediately known who put the nooses up or why.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith heads to the Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol, June 26, 2018.

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