Hyde-Smith Accepts Debate Invite With McDaniel Out; Espy Considering

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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., has accepted an invitation Mississippi Farm Bureau to debate her runoff opponent, Democrat Mike Espy, on Nov. 20.

“Cindy looks forward to a robust debate about the major issues facing our state and country, and to outline the clear choice voters have in this important runoff election,” Hyde-Smith Communications Director Melissa Scallan said in a press release Thursday.

The Espy campaign had not yet made a decision about the debate as of mid-morning Thursday.

“She must have seen more than we have, because we haven’t seen any terms, conditions, or details of it other than the date,” Espy Communications Director Danny Blanton told the Jackson Free Press. “We’ve been talking to several other organizations that are also interested in sponsoring debates as well. We feel like we have plenty of opportunities to debate.”

The Espy campaign would like to participate in three debates between now and the Nov. 27 runoff, Blanton said. Hyde-Smith and Espy advanced to a runoff after Tuesday’s election, when Espy and Hyde-Smith earned the top two spots, with neither reaching the over-50-percent threshold necessary to avoid a runoff.

The Farm Bureau debate will be broadcast live on television and radio.

In Hyde-Smith’s press release, Scallan said the timing of the Farm Bureau debate would work well for the senator.

“With the U.S. Senate being in session for several days next week, and the Thanksgiving holiday taking place later this month, the proposed date of Nov. 20 is ideal for voters to have an opportunity to learn the clear differences between conservative Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and liberal Democrat Mike Espy,” Scallan said.

With 98 percent of the Nov. 6 vote in as of Thursday, Hyde-Smith led Espy 42 to 41. Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, earned 16 percent of the vote. Results from Forrest County have yet

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