Ayanna Pressley travels to MS to campaign for Democrat Mike Espy

Nooses found outside Mississippi legislature day before Senate vote

Democrats have mounted an all-out effort to defeat Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the seat by Gov. Phil Bryant when former Sen. She is running against Democrat Mike Espy in a contest that has increasingly taken on racial overtones.

If he prevailed, Mr Espy would become the first black senator since the Reconstruction Era following the US Civil War. The president is holding two rallies for Hyde-Smith Monday, events that officials hope will spike interest and turnout among conservatives during an oddly-timed, holiday-season election. Thad Cochran's seat, was recorded during a campaign stop saying that if a supporter invited her to a "public hanging", she would be in "the front row".

That choice of words evoked grim memories for many. He described the signs ― which police haven't yet made public ― as focusing on lynching and Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched in MS in 1955 after being accused of interacting with a white woman. Black voting groups are working to turn out voters in the wake of her statements.

Hyde-Smith was projected to win by about 70,000 votes over Espy, a former congressman and agriculture secretary under Barack Obama. Hyde-Smith said the comment had been twisted and turned into "a political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain by my opponent".

"Don't pay attention to the polls, my race had me down by 13 points and we won by 17", she said.

Major League Baseball has wrapped itself into a political controversy after requesting Sen.

Those comments aren't the only ones that have raised questions about Hyde-Smith and race relations. No surprise there. To see her full videos, flip page.

The California-based search giant donated $US5,000 to the Hyde-Smith campaign on November 2, before the controversial remarks were made.

A noose hangs on a tree in Jackson
A noose hangs on a tree in Jackson

There were also reports in the local MS newspapers that Hyde-Smith had attended a "segregation academy" as a high school student, one of many such institutions established after court-ordered school integration finally came to the state in 1969. "She wasn't trying to send any messages".

Hyde-Smith has campaigned as an unwavering supporter of President Trump, who campaigned with her Monday, praising her at a rally in the northeastern MS city of Tupelo for voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

And if there was any concern that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal sounded a little too much like the iconic Village People tune, Trump has fully embraced it. That never works out well. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) website says that between 1882 and 1968, there were 4,743 lynchings in the United States, and that almost 73 percent of the victims were black.

"We have worked very hard, and we feel very good", Hyde-Smith said. "She's somebody that's respected in the Senate".

Republicans, meanwhile, have gone on the attack against Espy, airing TV ads highlighting the $750,000 lobbying contract he received from an Ivory Coast dictator earlier this decade. Her campaign said that was a joke. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is in a runoff Tuesday against Democrat Mike Espy.

"I've known her for a period of time now as a senator", he said. "And as I understand it, she's already apologized and very strongly".

"We don't want to have an Alabama", he added, referring to Republican Roy Moore's 2017 loss to Democrat Doug Jones in a special Senate election in the deep-red state.

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