The Washington Post reports on the final U.S. Senate race of 2018 in Mississippi’s runoff election, which is also the last battle of Sen. Cory Gardner’s stormy term as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). And there’s a lot riding on the outcome:
For Republicans, the Nov. 27 runoff is a chance for a slight expansion of their majority in the Senate, their one bright spot in this year’s midterm elections. If Hyde-Smith wins and Gov. Rick Scott keeps his lead in the Senate race in Florida, Republicans would have a senate majority of 53 to 47. A loss in Mississippi would give the GOP a 52-to-48 majority, only one up from the current razor-thin margin.
Trump’s campaign announced Saturday that he would hold rallies for Hyde-Smith in Tupelo and Biloxi the night before the election. The Republican National Committee, meantime, has two dozen staffers in Mississippi and plans to send more. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is also sending reinforcements and last week made a $700,000 ad buy…
Concern over the tightness of the race came up last week during a conference call that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo), head of the NRSC, held with Republican donors. In it, he equated the Mississippi race with the party’s ongoing fight over ballots in Florida.
“We take this race very, very seriously,” Gardner said, according to audio obtained by The Post. “We have emptied out the building of the senatorial committee to two places: Florida and Mississippi.”
Unfortunately for Sen. Cory Gardner, if you’ve been following the headlines in this race you already know there’s a problem in Mississippi–beyond the miserable climate and beat-down red state economy. Roll Call:
Half a dozen corporations have asked Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to reimburse their contributions to her runoff campaign.
The companies have been under intense scrutiny in recent days for their financial support of the senator in the wake of her remark that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” at a campaign stop earlier this month. The NAACP has said her comments evoke Mississippi’s bloody history of lynchings…
A Walmart spokeswoman said Hyde-Smith is the first candidate from whom the company has looked to revoke a donation. [Pols emphasis]
Mississippi GOP Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith has made a serious mess of what should have been a no-brainer win for Republicans in one of the reddest states in the nation. The “public hanging” remark needs no further explanation to offend, other than perhaps to note that Hyde-Smith’s opponent is African-American. Hyde-Smith also cracked wise about Mississippi’s history of voter suppression, joking (she says) about how it would be good to make it “just a little more difficult” for liberal college students to vote next Tuesday.
Much like the special election in neighboring Alabama last December which produced an upset Democratic victory, Republicans find themselves suddenly on the defensive due to their own candidate’s self-inflicted wounds. But this time, Gardner is publicly aligning himself with the disgraced candidate and pouring the NRSC’s resources into the race–something he wouldn’t do for Alabama’s Roy Moore–and in doing so, taking custody of Cindy Hyde-Smith’s baggage.
Whatever happens in Mississippi, it’s more for Gardner to answer for when he asks for Colorado’s vote again.