Michael Smith, Cindy Hyde-Smith's Husband

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Rock and roll legend Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, where the president held the first of two rallies to boost Republican Sen.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is facing Democrat Mike Espy in Tuesday's runoff.

Voters in MS will decide on Tuesday a US Senate special election runoff marked by racial controversy and capped by a last-minute visit by President Donald Trump to shore up the beleaguered Republican incumbent.

"I've known her for a period of time now as a senator", he said.

But Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, from the coastal town of Diamondhead, voted for Hyde-Smith and said neither the "hanging" comments nor Hyde-Smith's appearance in the Confederate hat bothered her. Her campaign has called the first remarks "an exaggerated expression of regard" for the supporter and said the latter comments were made in jest.

We urge all our CHQ friends and readers in MS to heed President Trump's warning: Don't take anything for granted, be sure to vote for Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith in today's Senate run-off. Whoever wins the election will fill the last two years of Cochran's term, and then have to run again in 2020. Democrats said the remark had racial overtones and harkened back to a darker chapter in MS history, especially since Espy would be the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction. Hyde-Smith accused Democrats of weaponizing the "public hanging" remark and said she would apologize to anyone who was offended by it.

Two nooses and a number of signs with hateful language were discovered on the grounds of the MS state capitol building on Monday morning, the day before a runoff election is set to commence between a Republican with a questionable past and her black Democratic opponent.

Trump Backs Under-Fire Senator Hyde-Smith
He has to close the gap in a state where Trump received 58 percent in 2016 and that hasn't elected a Democrat to the U.S. A 2014 Facebook post in which Hyde-Smith praises Confederate history subsequently surfaced.

Before he left Washington on Monday, Trump said he had spoken with Hyde-Smith about the remark.

Mississippi Democrats hope to recreate the coalition that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate victory in neighboring Alabama past year by energizing black voters, particularly women, and winning support from white swing voters.

The NAACP website says that between 1882 and 1968, there were 4,743 lynchings in the United States, and almost 73% of the victims were black. "She's a Republican, I guess", said Jerry Smith, a grandfather and longtime MS resident.

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.

He said the matter is under investigation by the Mississippi Capitol Police.

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.

"I don't talk to them as white voters".

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Such donations have come under fire due to Hyde-Smith's recent comments and actions making jokes out of lynchings and glorifying Confederate history.

Hyde-Smith and Espy emerged from a field of four candidates November 6 to advance to Tuesday's runoff.

He continued: "Well, I know her".

Ms Hyde-Smith's campaign meanwhile has critiqued Mr Espy's lobbying work and affiliations with an Ivory Coast dictator.

He said it would be "unfair" to make any connection between the items and Hyde-Smith.

Espy said he refused to accept offers of plea deals.

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