The final chapter of the 2018 midterms is nearing a close in MS, where the prevalent themes of President Donald Trump and race have combined for a much closer contest than anyone expected in one of the country's most deeply conservative states.
The comment prompted outrage in a Deep South state scarred by a history of lynchings, and boosted support for Mike Espy, her Democratic challenger. President Donald Trump is set to travel to the state for two rallies with Hyde-Smith on Monday. Defeat would leave the Republicans with only a... Thad Cochran retired. The victor of Tuesday's runoff gets the final two years of the term Cochran started.
It's the last Senate race of the 2018 election season, in which Republicans held onto their slim majority in the Senate, but lost control of the House.
Trump heads to MS on Monday to campaign for Hyde-Smith - his second trip to the state on the senator's behalf since October.
Hyde-Smith sent her daughter to a similar school, Brookhaven Academy, which is almost all white despite being located in a majority-black town.
Hyde-Smith is the first woman to represent MS in Congress since a temporary Senate appointment in April. RRH Elections, with Bold Blue Campaigns and JMC Analytics & Polling, showed Hyde-Smith with a 54 percent to 44 percent lead on Espy, with a margin of error of 4 percent. Thad Cochran (R), who stepped down for health reasons.
Hyde-Smith is identified in a caption beneath the yearbook photograph, which shows a row of cheerleaders smiling as they lie on the ground, propped up on their elbows, as a girl dressed in what seems to be Civil War-era regalia stands in the center holding an apparent Confederate flag.
But race has become a dominant issue as Hyde-Smith faces Espy, a former congressman and USA agriculture secretary. I am the candidate that wants to move MS into the future. She has been campaigning in a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy on November 27.
After the event in Tupelo, best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley, Hyde-Smith and Trump flew to the Gulf Coast for a larger rally in Biloxi where thousands of Trump supporters were waiting.
For Espy, turnout is key.
MLB's donation was made on Friday, three weeks after her campaign comment.
The Free Press reported the school was created for parents who did not want to send their children to schools with black students.
"My approach is MS first", Espy said at last week's debate.
The runoff between Hyde-Smith and Espy has drawn comparisons to last year's special election in which Democrat Doug Jones defeated the scandal-plagued Republican Roy Moore to fill Jeff Sessions' vacated seat. "She's a person that loves the people of MS, she loves the people of this country". A day earlier she received a donation from San Francisco Giants part-owner Charles B. Johnson. "MLB has requested that the contribution be returned", a league spokesperson said in a statement, via ESPN.