Race Roils Final Senate Contest of 2018 Midterms in Mississippi

Cindy Hyde Smith and Donald Trump

GOP groups including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Mississippi Victory Fund have poured resources into the race to bolster Hyde-Smith's campaign.

President Donald Trump did not address incendiary remarks made by interim Sen.

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 keep her seat in Republican hands. The comment was met with swift backlash - especially given Mississippi's history of violent public hangings of black people - and Hyde-Smith has since apologized.

While lavishing praise on one of her supporters, Hyde Smith told a crowd gathered that she liked this particular supporter so much that "if he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".

Trump said he needs Ms. Hyde-Smith in Washington and urged voters to keep her there. He will then travel to Gulfport for another rally.

"I'm here to ask the people of MS to send Cindy Hyde-Smith back so we can make America great again", Mr. Trump said, after some praise for Tupelo's most famous son, Elvis Presley.

By the time Trump finished his 45 minute speech, the sun had just about set and the temperature continued to fall.

"Let us all respond to these despicable acts by voting, working, raising our families, practicing our faith, and pursuing the American dream here in our great state without fear or trepidation and in harmony with our fellow citizens", Hurst said.

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He added, "Now you have a president who is standing up for America who loves your country".

"We love Elvis, don't we?"

He called Espy "Cindy's far left opponent". An election victory would see Espy become the first African-American U.S. senator from MS since Reconstruction.

Hyde-Smith was in her second term as Mississippi's elected agriculture commissioner when Republican Governor Phil Bryant chose her to temporarily succeed longtime Republican Senator Thad Cochran, who retired in April amid health concerns.

Mr. Trump held a festive, Christmas-themed rally for Hyde-Smith in Biloxi Monday night, and a rally earlier that day for her in Tupelo, 300 miles to the north.

"Mississippi first means I value MS over everything else - over party, over persons, over everybody". I've known her for a period of time now as a senator.

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

"I will stand for your conservative values".

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