Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mike Espy appeal to conservative Mississippi voters

November 21, 2018 GMT

Mississippi’s U.S. Senate runoff candidates both acknowledged in their own way in Tuesday night’s debate that the state is one of the nation’s most conservative.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s first comments reminded voters that President Trump would be in Mississippi on Monday “to campaign on my behalf,” while her Democratic opponent Mike Espy insisted he would be not be beholden to the party’s liberal leadership in Washington.

In her opening statement, Ms. Hyde-Smith rattled off a list of things she backs “lower taxes, less regulation, support our veterans, protect unborn children” that she said proved “I will stand up and protect your core conservative values.”

Though not on the defensive, Mr. Espy tried to distance himself from several of the positions his party would like to enact or leans toward. He does not support open borders, is not a fan of single-payer health care, and owns pistols and shotguns, he said.


But Ms. Hyde-Smith tried to puncture Mr. Espy’s self-portrait. She would be the superior defender of the 2nd Amendment, she said, and she would prefer to see Obamacare eradicated rather than shored up with more massive infusions of taxpayer cash, she said.

“He is nothing of a moderate,” she said, following up on her early claim listeners would hear “750,000 reasons why my opponent is too liberal for Mississippi.”

In his opening remarks, Mr. Espy said he was, “Mississippi over party, Mississippi over person, and I’m not going to let anyone in the federal government run over you.”

But, Ms. Hyde-Smith insisted, he would be a reliable vote for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and other top Democrats.

“If he is elected, he will vote with Chuck Schumer 100 percent of the time,” she said.

Perhaps the only item on which the candidates appeared to agree was on the notion that people with pre-existing conditions must be included in all health care legislation, although Mr. Espy worked hard to depict himself as a more-sure supporter of that popular element of Obamacare.