Trump to hold rallies in Mississippi before Senate runoff election
Posted November 17, 2018 2:50 p.m. EST
(CNN) — President Donald Trump will hold two campaign rallies in Mississippi to campaign for Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on November 26, one day before her runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy.
The runoff was triggered when neither candidate received 50% of the vote on November 6. Hyde-Smith was appointed in April to fill the Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who stepped down due to health reasons.
Trump endorsed Hyde-Smith in August, tweeting that she would help him "Put America First!"
Hyde-Smith said in a statement that she is "very excited" that Trump is returning to Mississippi to rally support for her. The rallies will be held in Tupelo and Biloxi.
"Our campaign is working hard for a big election-day turnout, so the President's visit the day before the runoff will be a good boost to make sure all conservatives know they have a very clear choice in this runoff election," she said.
The Trump campaign's announcement comes after Hyde-Smith faced criticism this past week for comments about making voting "just a little more difficult" for students at some of the state's universities. Hyde-Smith's campaign said in a statement she was "making a joke" and that the video was "selectively edited."
Hyde-Smith also joked about going "front row" to a "public hanging" in a video posted to Twitter earlier this month, prompting her African-American opponent to call her comment "reprehensible."
In the video, Hyde-Smith appeared to be speaking during a campaign event about the support of a Mississippi rancher. The senator issued a statement after the video posted, saying, "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."