History will be made either way: Republican Sen.
Voters in MS will decide on Tuesday a US Senate special election runoff marked by racial controversy and capped by a last-minute visit by President Donald Trump to shore up the beleaguered Republican incumbent.
Voter Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, said Tuesday she wanted to be a part of that history by helping to elect the state's first woman to Capitol Hill.
"I've known her for a period of time now as a senator", he said. This included a declaration that she was so loyal to one of her prominent supporters that "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".
"She certainly didn't mean that and it was taken a certain way, but she certainly didn't mean it", he said.
Hyde-Smith found national headlines in recent weeks after the release of videos showing her making controversial remarks.
On Monday, President Donald Trump held two rallies in the state to support Hyde-Smith and encourage Republicans to get out and vote for her.
Trump is holding two rallies Monday to help Hyde-Smith finish the final two years of the term started by Republican Thad Cochran.
The US president appeared with Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who appointed her to the Senate seat, and Senator Lindsey Graham of SC.
She said Hyde-Smith's remark about hanging "revealed to a lot of people that MS still has a long way to go".
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Two nooses and a number of signs with hateful language were discovered on the grounds of the MS state capitol building on Monday morning, the day before a runoff election is set to commence between a Republican with a questionable past and her black Democratic opponent.
He said he expects Hyde-Smith to win on Tuesday, though he added that Republicans should be concerned about the potential for weak turnout.
In the aftermath of the video, Republicans anxious they could face a repeat of last year's special election in Alabama, in which a flawed Republican candidate handed Democrats a reliable GOP Senate seat in the Deep South. One of the signs says MS needs a senator "who respects the lives of lynch victims". She later apologized "to anyone that was offended". But Hyde-Smith did attend the University of Southern Mississippi, and obtained degrees in criminal justice and political science. "I think it's been overblown", Smith said over a simmering plate of Chinese food at the Edgewater Mall in Biloxi, .
The comments triggered a political firestorm in a state that has a history of racism and lynchings and was a flashpoint in America's civil rights struggle.
"But like I said, neither one of them, I wish I had somebody else to vote for".
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the incident, said the items were placed there early Monday morning.
Hyde-Smith was in her second term as Mississippi's elected agriculture commissioner when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant chose her to temporarily succeed longtime Republican Sen. Hyde-Smith outpaced Espy by about 8,400 votes, or just a single percentage point, on November 6, while Republican Chris McDaniel took 17 percent.
Hyde-Smith remains a narrow favourite to win.
"I've never really hard anything about Mike Espy", said 19-year-old Marjorie Lam, a biology student at the community college. "Because I was not guilty", Espy told the Associated Press in October. I want you to remember what they will do on the other side", Graham said according to the CNN report, adding, "I want you to show up Tuesday.