The Latest: Protesters blast Mississippi senator’s remarks

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. Senate special election runoff in Mississippi (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Protesters in Mississippi are condemning remarks a Republican U.S. senator made about “public hanging” and voting rights.

A racially diverse group of more than 50 people gathered Friday in downtown Jackson and chanted “No hate in our state” and “Cindy gotta go.”

A video released Sunday showed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith praising a supporter by saying: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” She said it was “an exaggerated expression of regard.”

A separate video released Thursday shows Hyde-Smith talking about “liberal folks” and making it “just a little more difficult” for them to vote. Her campaign says the senator was joking.

George H. Williams, a 65-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Ridgeland, Mississippi, says Hyde-Smith “must think people are stuck on stupid.”

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11:38 p.m.

The spokesman for a Democratic challenger says Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith “embarrasses” Mississippi when she talks about making voting more difficult.

A video released Thursday shows Hyde-Smith talking about “liberal folks” and making it “just a little more difficult” for them to vote.

Her campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan says the senator was joking.

Hyde-Smith, who is white, faces Democrat Mike Espy, who is black, in a Nov. 27 runoff. The winner gets the final two years of a six-year term.

Espy campaign spokesman Danny Blanton says “voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood.”

A video released Sunday showed Hyde-Smith praising a supporter by saying: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Hyde-Smith said that was “an exaggerated expression of regard.”

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