JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Republican appointee who's trying to hold onto a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi sent a fundraising appeal Tuesday saying she's supported by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
But, Trump and Pence have not endorsed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith — or anyone else — in the special election.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed the former state agriculture commissioner to temporarily succeed longtime Sen. Thad Cochran, 80, who retired April 1 because of health concerns. Five candidates are running in a November special election. The winner will complete the last two years of the term.
Republicans running for the U.S. House and Senate in Mississippi this year are trying to align themselves with Trump, who carried the state by a wide margin in 2016.
"Needless to say, this campaign will be like any other and I am going to need your help. I have the support of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but the support I need most is YOURS," the Hyde-Smith fundraising email said.
Tanner Watson, campaign spokesman for Republican challenger Chris McDaniel, questioned that, saying: "Did we miss something?"
Hyde-Smith's campaign spokesman, Jordan Russell, said "the wrong draft" of the fundraising email was sent. He said it should have said Hyde-Smith believes Trump and Pence will support her.
"Ultimately, it was a mistake in the editing process," Russell said.
There are no party primaries for the special Senate election. The ballot will not list candidates by party, but those running generally tell voters their political affiliation.
The field of candidates is set at five after a Tuesday qualifying deadline for the special election. In addition to Hyde-Smith and McDaniel, three Democrats are running. They are former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton and former Gautier City Council member Tobey Bartee.
The election is Nov. 6 and a runoff, if needed, would be Nov. 27.
Republicans are trying to maintain their slim majority in the Senate. In addition to the special election, Mississippi has a regularly scheduled U.S. Senate race with Republican Sen. Roger Wicker facing one challenger in the primary. Five Democrats are competing in the primary for the regular Senate election. A Reform Party candidate and a Libertarian are also running. March 1 was the qualifying deadline for the regular election.
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