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Trump Heading to Mississippi to Give Hyde-Smith a Runoff Boost

Senator has drawn national headlines for controversial comments

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy in a Nov. 27 runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy in a Nov. 27 runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump will make an eleventh-hour attempt to keep a Mississippi Senate seat in Republican hands later this month when he headlines two rallies there the day before a runoff election.

His campaign organization announced Saturday the president will hold two rallies on Nov. 26 on behalf of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. He will be in Tupelo at 5 p.m. and then in Biloxi three hours later.

Hyde-Smith faces former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy in the special election runoff after neither cleared 50 percent in the Nov. 6 jungle primary, which saw two Republicans and two Democrats run together on the same ballot. Hyde-Smith was appointed to the seat in April after GOP Sen. Thad Cochran resigned over health reasons. The special election winner gets to serve out the final two years of Cochran’s term. 

Hyde-Smith earned national headlines in recent days after the release of video showing her making controversial remarks. In one, she’s heard saying she’d be “on the front row” if invited by a supporter to a public hanging. In another, she indicated support for making it “just a little more difficult” for liberal college students to vote. Her campaign has called the first remarks “an exaggerated expression of regard” for the supporter and said the latter comments were made in jest. 

The Mississippi Senate runoff gives Trump another chance to get back on the campaign trail after his frustrations with the media’s coverage of the midterms, which saw Republicans lose control of the House while picking up likely two seats to expand their narrow Senate majority.

The president has painted the midterms as a success, pointing to the Senate gains, while arguing that previous presidents lost more House seats. He has also bragged about campaigning for 10 GOP candidates, saying he helped nine of them win.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Mississippi special Senate election Solid Republican

Watch: Senate Republicans Talk Leadership Team and Special Counsel Protections

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