/State flag, COVID-19 could have reverberations in November Espy vs Hyde-Smith tilt

State flag, COVID-19 could have reverberations in November Espy vs Hyde-Smith tilt

Hyde-Smith released a statement regarding the flag debate. She said, “I value the views of all Mississippians and hope to continue Mississippi’s forward momentum.” If the people of Mississippi and their elected officials decide to start the process of finding a better unifying banner that better represents all Mississippians, and the progress we’ve made as a nation, I would support that effort.” Espy was elected in 1986 to the U.S. House from Mississippi. He later became secretary to agriculture and has long advocated for a new Flag. Espy hopes that his November campaign will benefit from the energy behind the effort for a new flag. Espy was invited to a news conference at the Capitol by a group representing pastors who supported a flag change. He stated, “First of all, what’s going on right now regarding the movement to change flag is really larger than the election.” This moment is obvious. I believe we as a country need to use this moment to change the flag.” He said that he loves what he was seeing. There is a lot of energy for change. Espy wants to be the change in Mississippi. But despite the enthusiasm that Espy hopes will unite behind his campaign, Espy faces a formidable challenge. Hyde-Smith, like Espy is an important figure in Mississippi politics. She was the first woman to be elected to national office. Republicans will prioritize Hyde-Smith’s re-election as they try to keep their Senate majority. Will there be Hyde-Smith loyalists who support the old flag and who will not vote in November, because Espy was not tough enough about the issue? Espy must ensure that the state’s African American voters are represented strongly while also making contact with white voters. This is something he wasn’t able to do in 2018. Espy planned to travel the state for much of 2020, meeting people and building grassroots support among Black and White Mississippians. Espy has had to rely heavily on the internet to gain support because of the pandemic. Espy is hosting multiple internet town halls, and was last week at an internet conference with 700 Mississippi pastors who, he stated, support his campaign. Hyde-Smith has also had to contend with limitations placed on her campaign due to the coronavirus, but she is still running as the incumbent and is the favorite to retain her seat. Justin Brasell, Hyde-Smith’s campaign spokesperson, recently stated that “Yes, we are preparing the campaign now the state has reopened.” “She has held some telephone town halls, and we will be opening campaign fields offices in the near future,” Justin Brasell stated. The coronavirus could not only affect campaigning but also impact voter turnout in November. Despite the potential threat that the coronavirus may pose, it seems the Legislature won’t take the same steps as other states to increase early voting both in person or by mail to reduce the lines at precincts on election days. The coronavirus could have a negative impact on turnout. Hyde-Smith won by nearly 66,000 votes, or 53.6 percent to 46.4% in 2018.