Challenger: Senator’s Mississippi ‘hanging’ comment harmful

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A black Democratic challenger says a white Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi needs to fully explain her comment about a “public hanging.”

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith made the comment in a video that surfaced Sunday. She praised a cattle rancher at a Nov. 2 campaign event by saying: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Democrat Mike Espy said Wednesday in Jackson that Hyde-Smith’s comment was “hurtful and harmful.”

Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings.

Hyde-Smith has said she used an “exaggerated expression of regard” for a supporter. She would not answer reporters’ repeated questions about it Monday in Mississippi.

Hyde-Smith and Espy are competing in a Nov. 27 runoff, with the winner getting the final two years of a term.

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