President Trump phones McDaniel to rally base for Hyde-Smith. Will it work?


Jeff Roberson, Associated PressPresident Donald Trump waves to supporters after being introduced during a campaign rally Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Gov. Phil Bryant walked on stage on Election Day and made a bold prediction: He would help convince 145,000 Chris McDaniel voters to throw their support to his one-time opponent Cindy Hyde-Smith.
“We’re going to get all the McDaniel folks,” Bryant told the Hyde-Smith supporters. “We’re going to get Chris on the stump, on the MAGA bus with me and Cindy Hyde-Smith. That ought to be a special moment. And I’m going to work hard on that. I’m going to bring everybody together. We are a team, we are a family.”
Since Bryant’s prediction, however, McDaniel had remained ambivalent. McDaniel received several overtures this week from representatives of the Hyde-Smith campaign to help, according to several people close to McDaniel. Then on Friday evening, President Donald Trump rang.
Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today/ Report for AmericaChris McDaniel speaks to his supporters during a campaign stop on Lakeland Drive in Flowood Monday, November 5, 2018.
“We laughed. We were lighthearted. Then we were serious. Through it all, he was encouraging,” McDaniel wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening.
Looking to shore up support from the McDaniel faithful, Republican operatives in Mississippi hope that two strategic visits by Trump on Monday can do the trick. Trump, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Hyde-Smith and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, will speak at a Tupelo rally at 4 p.m. and a Biloxi rally at 8 p.m.
It is unclear if McDaniel, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story, will attend either rally.
The two locations were selected with numbers in mind: On Election Day, about 35,000 Mississippians living in counties within a 100 square mile radius of Tupelo cast votes for McDaniel, and he earned