Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) appeared to endorse voter suppression during a campaign stop this month, saying efforts to undermine voting among liberals at certain colleges would be a “great idea.”
“And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote,” Hyde-Smith can be heard telling a small crowd of young people outside her campaign bus in a video taken Nov. 3 and posted on online Thursday. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”
Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate in April following the retirement of Thad Cochran, faces Democrat Mike Espy in a Nov. 27 runoff election. The Trump-backed Republican also came under fire last weekend for apparent racist remarks, joking with a crowd about attending a public hanging.
Campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan insisted Hyde-Smith was joking as she talked with students in Starkville, Mississippi, and claimed the video had been edited.
“It’s ok to still have a sense of humor in America isn’t it?” Hyde-Smith tweeted after the video circulated. “These students enjoyed a laugh with Cindy despite out of state social media posts trying to mislead Mississippians.”
It’s unclear which “other schools” Hyde-Smith referred to in the video. There are several historically black colleges and universities in the state.
“For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter,” Espy spokesman Danny Blanton said of Hyde-Smith’s remarks. “Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state.”