Los Angeles Times

Will Hyde-Smith's 'hanging' comment make a difference in Mississippi Senate runoff?

JACKSON, Miss. - In the first round of Mississippi's special election for a U.S. Senate seat, Cindy Hyde-Smith was widely seen as the moderate Republican.

But after a video emerged in which Hyde-Smith said that if a supporter invited her "to a public hanging" she would be in "the front row," her campaign has been wobbled by accusations that she is too extreme to represent the state.

Her comment, which she said was meant to show high praise to the supporter, has opened deep wounds among African-Americans in this Deep South state with the highest number of documented lynchings in the nation. And it brought unwanted attention to Mississippi as national news outlets delved into Hyde-Smith's views on race ahead of Tuesday's runoff election in which she hopes to keep her appointed Senate seat.

Democrats see it as a chance for Mike Espy - an African-American former congressman and agriculture secretary under President Bill Clinton - to win in a state

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