Nooses Hung At Mississippi State Capitol Just Before Runoff Election

Hugh Fox
November 30, 2018

Rock and roll legend Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, where the president held the first of two rallies to boost Republican Sen.

Cindy Hyde-Smith, 59, would be the first woman ever elected to Congress from MS, and Democrat Mike Espy, 64, would be the state's first African-American U.S. senator since Reconstruction.

While Republicans did well in Senate races, Democrats took control of the US House of Representatives from Republicans in midterm congressional elections three weeks ago.

I don't know what's in your heart - but we all know what came out of your mouth...

But Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, from the coastal town of Diamondhead, voted for Hyde-Smith and said neither the "hanging" comments nor Hyde-Smith's appearance in the Confederate hat bothered her.

A noose hangs on a tree in Jackson
A noose hangs on a tree in Jackson

"She certainly didn't mean that and it was taken a certain way, but she certainly didn't mean it", he said. More than a week after the video's release, she said she apologized to "anyone that was offended by my comments", but also said the remark was used as a "weapon" against her.

Mr. Trump held a festive, Christmas-themed rally for Hyde-Smith in Biloxi Monday night, and a rally earlier that day for her in Tupelo, 300 miles to the north. Tuesday's victor will serve the last two years of Cochran's six-year term. Cindy Hyde-Smith, 59, would be the first woman ever elected to Congress from MS, and Democrat Mike Espy, 64, would be the state's first African-American U.S. senator since Reconstruction.

Hyde-Smith promised to represent "every Mississippian" regardless of whom they voted for, and said, "I'm going to do my very best to make you proud".

Nooses were found hanging from trees and hate signs posted on the lawn of the Mississippi State Capitol building, on the eve of a U.S. Senate runoff election that has focused attention on the state's troubled history of race relations.

Before he left Washington on Monday, Trump said he had spoken with Hyde-Smith about the remark.

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Republicans think Cindy Hyde-Smith will ultimately pull out a win in Mississippi's special Senate election on Tuesday.

The NAACP website says that between 1882 and 1968, there were 4,743 lynchings in the United States, and that almost 73 per cent of the victims were black. "She's a Republican, I guess", said Jerry Smith, a grandfather and longtime MS resident.

Hyde-Smith, appointed to the seat seven months ago, becomes the first woman elected to the upper chamber from MS, and will finish a term that ends in two years.

"But like I said, neither one of them, I wish I had somebody else to vote for".

The comments triggered a political firestorm in a state that has a history of racism and lynchings and was a flashpoint in America's civil rights struggle. He resigned in April because of health issues, and Gov. Phil Bryant, R, appointed Hyde-Smith to fill the seat.

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"They are hurtful to millions of Mississippians who are people of goodwill", Espy said on CNN. Hyde-Smith's mother was a hairdresser and her father was a trucker. Hyde-Smith won 41 percent of the vote November 6, Espy 40 percent, and McDaniel 17 percent, eliminating McDaniel for the runoff.

We've reached out to the Hyde-Smith campaign for comment and will update when we hear back.

Espy said he refused to accept plea deals because, "I was so not guilty, I was innocent".

It was not immediately known who put the nooses up or why. "Because I was not guilty", Espy told the Associated Press in October.

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