/Mike Espy needs historic Black voter turnout to win US Senate race How’s he doing

Mike Espy needs historic Black voter turnout to win US Senate race How’s he doing

In a 2018 special election, Espy lost by 7 points to Hyde Smith, who was the first Black Mississippi congressman after Reconstruction. Some 2020 polls show Espy close to Hyde Smith, while Espy has raised more than Hyde Smith in every reporting period this year. We asked members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus to comment on how Espy is doing this season and whether there was enthusiasm in their respective districts for his candidacy. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm within the Delta. State Sen. Derrick Simmons (D-Greenville), the Senate minority leader, said that Mike Espy won big in 2018. “I believe it will be even more support in a presidential Year.” Rep. Bryant Clark (D-Pickens), who represents parts of the Delta, agreed. “I believe people in my area are excited. It is spreading to the Senate race. “I think Espy will do well the second congressional district.” However, some members of Legislative Black Caucus worry that not enough enthusiasm exists to give Joe Biden and Espy a chance in reliably Republican Mississippi. Even though they were skeptical, members of the Legislative Caucus expressed optimism that Espy can still generate this enthusiasm. Robert Johnson of Natchez (the House’s minority leader) said that enthusiasm has not been present in their community so far. He needs it to explode. It isn’t quite exploding yet. He is doing well. He works hard. This election is crucial. People must understand its importance. “I’m not sure they do.” PODCAST: Members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus discuss Mike Espy’s performance in their respective communities. Espy revealed the formula he believed would ensure a win when he announced plans to challenge Hyde Smith late last year. This consisted in an increase in Black voter participation by 3%, compared to the 32.5% he received in the 2018 special elections. Espy is also seeking to increase his white vote share from the 2018 special elections by 4% to 22%. Espy received just under 47% against Hyde Smith in the 2018 special election runoff. Hyde Smith became the first woman to be elected from Mississippi into the U.S. Senate. National political forecasters consider the Mississippi Senate race safe for Republicans, but a poll indicates that Hyde-Smith is leading by 1%. Some, including Hyde-Smith’s campaign, aren’t satisfied with the poll’s results. Espy stated that Mississippi is home to 38% of the country’s African Americans, according to the MSNBC national television program. Espy said, “So we have lots to work with from day one.” Espy is vying for the title of first African American elected to the Senate from Mississippi by popular vote and first African American to win the statewide office since 1800s. “All that’s required is to create our coalition. Just get out the Black voters and get enough white votes in suburbs, college towns and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We are building that coalition. Espy believes that Kamala Harris and Democrats Biden will help him in his efforts to increase Black voter turnout. Harris hopes to be the first Black woman and Indian American to hold the office of vice-president. Espy said that Mississippi voters will be asked to approve or deny a replacement flag for the state flag, which was 126 years old and featured the Confederate battle emblem. D-Jackson State Rep. Zakiya Sommers said that she agrees that there are multiple issues on this November’s ballot which could draw African American voters to the polls. These issues are already attracting voters to Hinds County in Jackson, which is the state’s capital and has the highest concentration of Black voters. She said, “There is a lot excitement for the Nov.3 election and I’ve seen it.” People are waiting in line for up to an hour to cast their absentee ballots at the Hinds County Courthouse every day. Mississippi is one of few states that doesn’t allow early voting or mail in voting. However, seniors, disabled people, and those who have been impacted by the coronavirus are allowed to vote early. Summers stated that if they could vote tomorrow, they would be running to the polls in the middle of a pandemic. They are enthusiastic about civic engagement. They are excited about supporting Secretary Espy,” said State Senator Sollie Norwood (D-Jackson). The increase in fundraising for the Espy campaign over the past months will help provide the funds to support get out the vote efforts. Espy stated that most of the contributions he received for the 2018 election were late and that his campaign wasn’t able to plan how the funds would be spent. Norwood stated that Espy had to plan and prepare for the election in a difficult time. “Actually Mike never stopped running, mentally and physically,” Norwood said. He kept running, which I believe is a good thing. His contacts in the community are a good thing.” Although Espy has not been able to campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Espy has taken part in many more events over the past few weeks. His campaign usually holds events outdoors and requires mask wear and social distancing. Campaign members have received personal protection equipment in different areas. State Senator Tammy Witherspoon (D-Magnolia) said that such an effort was successful at Pleasant Grove East McComb Baptist Church, in her district. Witherspoon stated that she believes his support is increasing as the election nears. Greenwood veteran Senator David Jordan was present at a similar event. Jordan is an active member of the Greenwood Voters League. Senator Angela Turner Ford (D-West Point), chair of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus said Espy was also effective at an event she attended in her hometown. She said that the caucus had not officially supported Espy. Turner Ford said that Espy has been endorsed by many individuals. “In terms of a collective, we haven’t endorsed candidates — at most during my tenure as chair.”