Dem contrasts 'diversity' with GOP senator in Mississippi

Cindy Hyde-Smith

The reports, from the Jackson Free Press, an independent newspaper in MS, and CNN, are the latest to bring up Mississippi's racist history ahead of a tense runoff election between Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy, who is vying to become the state's first African-American in the Senate since the Reconstruction. Hyde-Smith posed in a Confederate hat for a 2014 photo captioned "Mississsippi history at its best!" Pharr's father had been a Confederate soldier in Robert E. Lee's army in the Civil War. The signs referred to the state's history of lynchings and the Senate race.

The resolution said her father "fought to defend his homeland and contributed to the rebuilding of the country", CNN reported. It says that with "great pride", MS lawmakers "join the Sons of Confederate Veterans" to honor Pharr.

"My approach is MS first", Espy said at last week's debate.

Espy is seeking an upset victory in a deep red state after Democrat Doug Jones edged Republican Roy Moore in a December 2017 special election to fill former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Alabama Senate seat.

Hyde-Smith, 59, served as the state's commissioner of agriculture from 2011 to 2018. She was a Democrat before switching parties in 2010, citing her conservative beliefs.

Hyde-Smith, who will face Black Democratic candidate Mike Espy in a runoff election Tuesday, has been under fire since she was caught at a November 2 campaign event telling a supporter that she would "be on the front row" of a "public hanging" if he invited her.

Hyde-Smith was recorded telling supporters in Tupelo earlier this month that she'd be "on the front row" if one of her supporters there "invited me to a public hanging" - a phrase her campaign called an "exaggerated expression of regard". She said there are as many as 95,000 Black women in the state who historically vote in presidential elections but not at other times.

In recent days, Hyde-Smith has been asked to explain why she attended a private, nearly all-white school, dozens of which sprang up across the South to counter court-ordered school desegregation in the 1970s.

Mr Trump was expected to fly into Mississippi today for two rallies for Ms Hyde-Smith as part of efforts to rescue her flagging campaign before tomorrow's vote.

"I have met with the president, and I proudly support him in negotiating these trades", she said. But more critical attention has been paid toward Confederate monuments, symbols and icons in recent years, particularly after the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting and white supremacists' march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hyde-Smith campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan responded to the report by saying: "In their latest attempt to help Mike Espy, the gotcha liberal media has taken leave of their senses". Her opponent in Tuesday's run-off election, former Democratic Representative Mike Espy, is an African-American.

The San Francisco Giants' principal owner, Charles B. Johnson, has been in the news for some of his political donations to certain groups and candidates, some of whom are considered bigots and racists. Hyde-Smith and her campaign said the comment was a bad joke, and the Republican senator later apologized.

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