According to the NAACP, Mississippi held 581 public hangings, the most for any state from 1882 to 1968. In addition to the murky history behind it, Hyde-Smith’s words came just days before the sitting Senator faced off against Mike Epsy, her Democratic opponent in the race for a Mississippi Senate seat. Epsy happens to be a Black man and a formidable opponent in a red state. The race is now going to a runoff on Nov. 27. On Sunday, Hyde-Smith released a statement addressing her comments, saying in part, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.” According to ABC News affiliate, WAPT, a day later when speaking to reporters in Mississippi, Hyde-Smith doubled down on her refusal to apologize by referring the attendees to her statement when asked about the comments. Several lawmakers, including the Mississippi Legislative Democratic Caucus, have called on Hyde-Smith to apologize. To date, their pleas have not been met.
"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 11, 2018
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy. pic.twitter.com/0a9jOEjokr