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Cindy Hyde-Smith under fire for voter suppression comments; campaign said it was a joke

November 16, 2018

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is under fire for another controversial comment this week with just days to go before a runoff against Democratic challenger Mike Espy for her Senate seat.

A local publisher posted a video on Twitter Thursday of Ms. Hyde-Smith talking about “liberal folks” and voter suppression.

“And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote,” the senator can be heard saying in the video. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. So, I think that’s a great idea.”

Melissa Scallan, a spokeswoman for Ms. Hyde-Smith’s campaign, said in a statement to several outlets that the senator was clearly joking in the video. She also claimed that the video was edited.

Mr. Espy’s campaign slammed his rival, calling her an embarrassment to the state.

“For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter. Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state,” Danny Blanton, Mr. Espy’s communication director, said in a statement.

This is the second time Ms. Hyde-Smith has found herself fending off outrage over controversial comments. On Sunday, reports surfaced that the campaigning senator made flippant remarks about sitting front row at a “public hanging.”

The runoff to determine who gets the Mississippi Senate seat will be on Nov. 27.

Cindy Hyde-Smith on voter suppression: “And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.” Nov 2nd in Columbus, MS. pic.twitter.com/OxNY77XCft Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 15, 2018

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