/Team Cindy ‘Grossly unfair’ media coverage fueled the big Hyde-Smith victory they expected all along

Team Cindy ‘Grossly unfair’ media coverage fueled the big Hyde-Smith victory they expected all along

Hyde Smith told her supporters that the coverage that suggested Hyde Smith’s public gaffes might hand her victory to Mike Espy, a Democratic opponent, was wrong. “The reason we won was because Mississippians know and love me. From a Jackson hotel, Hyde-Smith said, “And thank you for stepping down Mississippi.” Hyde-Smith, as well as many senator’s supporters, including Gov. Phil Bryant, who introduced Hyde Smith, his hand-picked successor for retiring U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in march — Tuesday’s victory against Espy was also a victory over the two weeks of negative media coverage. It was proof that Mississippi voters would not be intimidated by the media, they stated. “I would like to thank everyone in the media. “Thank you,” Byrant said to more than three dozen state and national reporters at Hyde-Smith’s watch party. Your coverage made it possible to elect Republicans like never before. It was because of the work you did. You didn’t know what was happening across Mississippi and across America. (Voters) stated, “We’re going to not take it anymore. We won’t let the national media define Republicans. We’re just going to win. Hyde-Smith’s victory over Espy by 8 points was decisive. No one will be hand-counting Mississippi’s ballots, unlike Arizona and Florida in the 2018 senate elections. Mississippi is also a deeply red state, unlike Arizona and Florida, which almost split their electorates. Democrats hoping for a major upset similar to Alabama’s 2017 Senate race in which now-U.S. Senator Doug Jones narrowly defeated Roy Moore were disappointed. In the three weeks that elapsed between Tuesday’s runoff and the special election, Democrats managed to pick up thousands of votes. Espy and Toby Bartee (the other Democrat in the nonpartisan race) received a total 372,819 votes on Nov. 6. Hyde-Smith, R-Ellisville’s state senator Chris McDaniel earned 514,549 votes, which is more than 57% of the electorate. On Tuesday, Espy got 410,693 votes to Hyde Smith’s 479.278 votes. Espy won nearly 38,000 votes, while Hyde Smith lost 35,000. “Election is a wake-up call”: Espy supporters see positives from Tuesday’s defeat. Jordan Russell, Hyde Smith’s campaign manager, stated that he was not surprised by the constant scrutiny of Hyde Smith’s comments which skewed Espy’s race in her favor. Russell stated that he believed that media irresponsibility in covering the race definitely inflamed the issues and that it helped to fuel Democratic turnout. He also said that it was certain that it helped make the race closer. But that’s what happens when all the media weigh in on one side. It could certainly have an impact on the race.” But Hyde Smith’s comments weren’t the only thing that kept the controversy alive. Hyde-Smith did not apologize for her comments about public hangings nine days after they were made. Only when she was asked directly by Espy during the Nov. 20 debate did Hyde-Smith offer an apology for her comments. And that gave media and opponents nine days to speculate about whether Hyde Smith didn’t regret or don’t fully understand the gravity of her remarks in a state that has used hanging lynching as a form of racial terror over 100 years. Lucien Smith, chair of the state GOP, told Mississippi Today Wednesday that she was glad she had apologized. “I would have loved it if she had done so immediately. Although I doubt she meant to refer to a horrible point in our history, I am glad she did. Smith stated that Smith was confident Mississippians would focus on the policy implications of this race and vote for someone who was going support conservative policy and conservative judges once they get to Washington. Russell and other campaign officials said that the negative attention did not have any effect on Hyde-Smith’s campaign as the election approached. Both sides believe that it is crucial to retain as many Nov. 6 voters as possible on Nov. 27, because voter participation can drop for a runoff. Smith stated that Smith was not referring to Hyde-Smith comments. Smith stated that “we expected a runoff right from the start and so we began preparing our largest data-driven get-out-the vote effort we’d ever seen.” So that operation didn’t change. “We tried to reach every Republican we could, but that was not affected by the topics in campaign.” Voter participation did increase slightly in this election, from 887 368 to 889 971. Democrats increased their turnout by 10% while Republicans lost around 7%. The structure of Hyde-Smith’s campaign events didn’t change to handle the backlash from her controversial remarks. These stops lasted close to an hour when Hyde Smith began to regularly travel the state in August. She opened each stop with a talk lasting 10 to 15 minutes before taking questions from the audience. After the talk, Hyde-Smith would meet supporters and occasionally interview journalists. As scrutiny grew over Hyde Smith’s refusal of to debate, this began to change. Even though she began a tour of north Mississippi shortly before the runoff started, the events often ended in 15 minutes. Sometimes, the senator would exit through a backdoor. Hyde-Smith was not able to answer questions about her public hanging remarks. Russell stated that she believed she had given plenty of access to her campaign’s last weeks. “I saw her do dozens upon interviews. People want more time and it’s impossible to do everything for everyone. At four of Hyde Smith’s final campaign events she answered one question from the media, which was from a MSNBC reporter asking why she had apologized. She said, “Anytime I’ve said anything that has caused offence, I want to apologise.” The format change was noticed by Hyde Smith supporters at the Columbus Hyde Smith event. Hyde Smith quickly left the room after speaking for less than five minutes. The entire appearance lasted only 16 minutes. The 90-minute drive to Meridian was her next stop. However, the buffer proved to be a blessing when her campaign bus with President Trump and a photo of herself broke down ten miles from Columbus. Carolyn Long said that she spent a lot of time with her last month when she was on the bus tour. It was much shorter today. Dixie Balou, Long’s friend, shrugged when asked if she was bothered by this. Balou stated, referring to President Trump’s October campaign stop, “She really said exactly the same thing in DeSoto County.” Russell said that Hyde-Smith’s comments were “grossly unfair” because the media was focusing on them. He also added that the state media are at least as guilty of the same crimes as national media. A Team Cindy account tweeted a video showing a man lighting his entire backyard with gasoline shortly after Hyde Smith spoke. The account called the man “Fake news Media” and the small flame “Mississippi Runoff Election.” It also tagged several reporters who had closely covered the campaign. Is @CindyHydeSmith the middle school yearbook? #ThanksForPlaying #GameOver #FakeNewsGotBurned CC: @GanucheauAdam @LamarWhiteJr @ashtonpittman @thisislarrison @VaughnHillyard @samrhall @MarshallRamsey pic.twitter.com/3KXTf4MzvF — Team Cindy (@TeamHydeSmith) November 28, 2018 “I thought that both the state and the national media were almost uniformly in the tank for Mike Espy, and I think you guys knew full well what the context of her remark was and (still) chose to obsessively focus on it to the exclusion of the important issues of the day,” Russell said. “And I’ve seen plenty of campaigns over 10 years and I have never seen a worse case media bias or blatant open cheerleading to one candidate over another in my life,” Russell said. For example, Hyde-Smith’s friends and supporters, many of whom had spoken at Mississippi Today on Nov. 6, declined to interview her at her election-night party. However, those supporters who spoke said they believed Hyde-Smith would win over what many felt was out of touch with the needs of Mississippians. “We know her,” stated Phyllis Timbs. She is a true Mississippian, and a true conservative. She loves her state, and she sticks by her word.”