Firestorm over public hanging, vote suppression remarks triggers surge in campaign cash


Featuring controversy and national intrigue, the Nov. 27 U.S. Senate runoff between Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is drawing big out-of-state money.
Both candidates are reporting large campaign contributions to the Federal Election Commission daily. The largest single day haul thus far was Thursday when Espy reported contributions of $163,500 from multiple individuals. During a two-day period last week, Hyde-Smith reported contributions totaling $138,600.
Federal law requires 48-hour reporting of all large contributions during the final days before an election.
The two are engaged in the fierce runoff after neither candidate garnered a majority vote in the Nov. 6 first election.
The runoff remained relatively quiet – the only Senate race still in question – until a video surfaced last Sunday of Hyde-Smith saying she would attend a “public hanging.” The result has been a renewed national interest in the race and a burst of national funding for both sides.
Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today/ Report for AmericaU.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., speaks to media after speaking to an audience of supporters during a campaign stop at the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum in Jackson Monday, November 5, 2018.
That interest intensified Thursday when a second video emerged showing Hyde-Smith telling supporters at Mississippi State University that she would support steps to suppress “liberal voters” at some of the other state universities. On the same day, Fox News reported that, based on a Hill publication report in 2011, Espy lied about the amount of money he accepted lobbying for former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently on trial in the international court at The Hague on charges of murder, rape and torture.
According to the Hill, Espy said he accepted $400,000 of a scheduled $750,000 payment, but in reality, based on federal records, he received the full payment.
The Espy campaign has said that he