Mississippi Senator In Runoff Jokes About Sitting In ‘Front Row’ Of ‘Public Hanging’

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Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), who is currently campaigning in a runoff election for that seat against Democratic challenger Mike Espy, joked in a video published Sunday that if a cattle rancher she was campaigning with “invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Hyde-Smith said while standing next to Colin Hutchinson. Lamar White Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief, tweeted video of the Hyde-Smith’s comment Sunday and identified Hutchinson. TPM has reached out to Hyde-Smith’s campaign for comment.

Hyde-Smith has been a senator since April; she was appointed to the seat after incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) resigned due to health concerns. The current race between her and Espy will determine who serves the rest of Cochran’s term, through January 2021. The runoff Senate election — the result of neither Hyde-Smith nor Espy earning more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day — will take place on Nov. 27.

Hyde-Smith’s comment immediately drew harsh criticism, given Mississippi’s (and many other states’) long and brutal history of lynchings and public executions of African American citizens.

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