JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A white Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi has apologized for complimenting a supporter by saying she would attend a "public hanging" if he invited her to one.
In a debate Tuesday night, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said she was apologizing to anyone offended by her comments. She says she meant no "ill will" and said critics have "twisted" her words to use as a "political weapon" against her.
Hyde-Smith's Democratic challenger, Mike Espy, says the words came out of Hyde-Smith's mouth and were not twisted. He says her statement gave Mississippi a "black eye" it doesn't need.
Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings.
Espy, a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary, is seeking to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction.
The winner of a Nov. 27 runoff gets the final two years of a term.
- Senator apologizes during debate for 'public hanging' comment
- Colleague: Senator's 'public hanging' remark 'being twisted'
- UPDATE: GOP senator won't comment on 'hanging' remark
- Alabama Senate to debate lottery
- "I'm sorry:" Zuckerberg opens Senate hearing with an apology
- Senate won't debate bill to spend more on private schools
- WTVA to air gubernatorial debate
- Black parents sue over white teacher's hanging remark
- FBI, Mississippi agents probe hanging of black man from tree
- Prosecutor mulls Louisiana trial as Mississippi jury hangs