Cindy Hyde-Smith faces Mike Espy in runoff

The candidates made few national headlines from the run up to Nov. 6, when toss-up Senate races in addition to Democrats’ efforts to win back the House drew the most attention. On Sunday, though, a viral comment by Hyde-Smith put a spotlight on the contest in addition to Mississippi’s history of racist violence.

In a video reportedly recorded in early November, Hyde-Smith stood next to a man while campaigning in Tupelo, Mississippi. She said: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

The comments made during a campaign against a black opponent stoked memories of Mississippi’s past, as the state was a hotbed for lynchings. In a statement Sunday night, the senator said of which “any attempt to turn This kind of into a negative connotation is usually ridiculous,” according to NBC News.

At an unrelated news conference Monday, Hyde-Smith was asked repeated questions about her comments, in addition to every time referred back to the statement she issued Sunday. Republican Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who attended the event Monday, said the senator “meant no offense” by the idea.

Espy’s campaign has seized on the remarks, calling them “reprehensible.”

“They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country,” Espy’s communications director Danny Blanton said in a statement Sunday. “We need leaders, not dividers, in addition to her words show of which she lacks the understanding in addition to judgment to represent the people of our state.”

Espy’s campaign has made turning out black voters a priority in a state where partisan leanings favor Republicans. In one section of the campaign’s website, the idea says of which “African-American voters, especially on the Internet, need to know how important the idea is usually to get out in addition to vote on November 27th.”

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