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Analysis: Mississippi US Senate race draws outside attention

Democratic challenger Mike Espy and Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith are both receiving help from out-of-state politicians as they compete for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi.

Posted: Oct 25, 2020 9:34 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Democratic challenger Mike Espy and Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith are both receiving help from out-of-state politicians as they compete for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi.

Hyde-Smith defeated Espy in a 2018 special election runoff, and now he's trying to reverse that outcome. The previous election was to fill the final two years of a six-year term started by longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. Hyde-Smith was the state agriculture commissioner when she was appointed to serve temporarily when Cochran retired because of health problems in the spring of 2018.

This year's election is for a full six-year term, and Republicans are trying to maintain their Senate majority.

“Cindy Hyde-Smith is one of President Trump’s most ardent supporters in the U.S. Senate. And right now, she is under attack," Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee says in a short video on Hyde-Smith's campaign website.

Blackburn — who grew up in Laurel, Mississippi — says that two prominent Democratic women, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, are supporting Espy.

“Now, we need your help for Cindy to send her back to the U.S. Senate so that she can be there to defend your freedoms, your liberties and to stand with President Trump,” Blackburn says.

Espy, who is a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary, received campaign help last week from a Democratic former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, who traveled to Jackson to speak at a luncheon for union members, civil rights activists and others who could be important to turning out the vote for Democrats.

“There’s an unusually clear choice here in Mississippi and across the country, frankly, about whether we’re going to be about yesterday or be about tomorrow," Patrick told The Associated Press in an interview after the event.

Patrick said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed economic fragility and “measures of despair” in the U.S.

“These are things that Black and brown communities have known for a long time, poor people have known for a long time,” Patrick said. "So, now everybody’s feeling it in one form or another. ... And, frankly, Mike Espy is the only one talking about solutions.”

That evening, Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts held an online event to promote Espy, with Espy and Patrick appearing together from the campaign office in Mississippi.

Patrick also campaigned for Espy in Mississippi in 2018, as did New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris, who's now the Democratic nominee for vice president.

If elected, Espy would become Mississippi's first Black U.S. senator since Reconstruction. Hyde-Smith is the only woman to have represented Mississippi in either chamber of Congress.

Espy picked up an endorsement last week from former President Barack Obama, who cut a radio ad. The Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, had endorsed Espy weeks earlier.

The same day the Espy campaign announced his Obama endorsement, Hyde-Smith received a tweet of support from Trump, who campaigned for her in Mississippi during the 2018 race.

Republicans hold all statewide offices in Mississippi, and voters in the state last elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 1982, when they sent longtime incumbent John C. Stennis back to Washington for his final term.

From July through September, the Espy campaign raised $4 million and the Hyde-Smith campaign raised $814,704, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Donations flowed to Espy and many other Democratic candidates after the Sept. 18 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Like many in his party, Espy criticized Republicans for moving quickly to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

Hyde-Smith praised Trump for nominating a conservative appellate court judge, Amy Coney Barrett, to the nation's top court, and she supports Barrett's confirmation.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 517138

Reported Deaths: 10306
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison35086559
DeSoto33512432
Hinds32826644
Jackson24938392
Rankin22621405
Lee16564245
Madison14986283
Jones14195248
Forrest13865260
Lauderdale12343323
Lowndes11401193
Lamar10715140
Pearl River9762244
Lafayette8898143
Hancock7854132
Washington7562169
Oktibbeha7246138
Monroe7106179
Pontotoc7071110
Warren6915179
Panola6815136
Neshoba6762210
Marshall6751142
Bolivar6484151
Union647099
Alcorn5969108
Pike5953157
Lincoln5550136
George511380
Prentiss511086
Tippah498483
Itawamba4916107
Scott479599
Tate4790118
Adams4789125
Leflore4765144
Copiah458995
Simpson4587117
Yazoo458692
Wayne444372
Covington435895
Sunflower4338106
Marion4313112
Coahoma4263111
Leake414491
Newton396482
Tishomingo390294
Grenada3799109
Stone366466
Attala342290
Jasper341667
Chickasaw320867
Winston319092
Clay314378
Clarke302095
Calhoun289550
Holmes273789
Smith271452
Yalobusha246547
Tallahatchie233153
Greene225549
Walthall222266
Lawrence221142
Perry214656
Amite210657
Webster207248
Noxubee188943
Montgomery182857
Carroll176341
Jefferson Davis175043
Tunica164139
Benton153539
Kemper145641
Choctaw138027
Claiborne134939
Humphreys132639
Franklin127130
Quitman107928
Wilkinson106539
Jefferson97334
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 849409

Reported Deaths: 16199
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1165042004
Mobile744951384
Madison53605739
Shelby38474373
Baldwin38236590
Tuscaloosa36225644
Montgomery34599784
Lee25712264
Calhoun22652520
Morgan22569411
Etowah20084521
Marshall18878318
Houston17806426
St. Clair16987359
Limestone16220222
Cullman16183306
Elmore15967295
Lauderdale15126308
Talladega14275302
DeKalb13099271
Walker12202380
Blount10803193
Autauga10566157
Jackson10237196
Coffee9447192
Colbert9396210
Dale9052192
Tallapoosa7291202
Russell711965
Chilton7101171
Covington6985197
Escambia6972146
Franklin6379108
Chambers5815142
Marion5451132
Dallas5307210
Pike5135109
Clarke485986
Lawrence4857130
Winston4804111
Geneva4658137
Bibb436795
Barbour370880
Butler3446101
Marengo342593
Monroe338666
Randolph338567
Pickens335590
Fayette332785
Henry321566
Cherokee321264
Hale320289
Crenshaw262278
Washington256952
Cleburne255460
Lamar253755
Clay253169
Macon246667
Conecuh193962
Coosa186248
Lowndes178468
Wilcox178338
Bullock152845
Perry141940
Sumter139841
Greene130845
Choctaw94928
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
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Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 59° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Temperatures return closer to normal for Wednesday with the shower staying south of us for the middle of the week, but rain chances start returning Thursday and could include thunderstorms, some possibly strong by Friday late in the day.
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