Cindy Hyde-Smith Is Running From Senate Debates in Mississippi

Mississippi interim senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is coming under scrutiny for her refusal to commit to U.S. Senate debates in her race against conservative challenger Chris McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy.

The local press can’t help but notice Hyde-Smith’s ducking of her opponents. Cartoonist Marshall Ramsey of the Clarion Ledger likens Hyde-Smith to a missing person on a milk carton:

Indeed, many news outlets are noticing Hyde-Smith’s unwillingness to debate.

The Associated Press recently reported:

All three challengers are accepting two debate invitations for a U.S. Senate race in Mississippi, their campaigns said Wednesday. But it’s unclear if Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith will take part.

“It really is all going to depend on her schedule in D.C.,” Hyde-Smith campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan told The Associated Press.

One debate is Oct. 4 at Millsaps College. It is sponsored by Millsaps and Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

The other debate is Oct. 23 at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. It is sponsored by the Clarion Ledger, the League of Women Voters of Mississippi, the Mississippi Bar Association and WLBT-TV.

Associated Press passage ends

Here’s another statement from the Hyde-Smith campaign, in Mississippi Today, accusing McDaniel of trying to bother her with a “grandstanding press release.”

“The senator is doing the job in Washington, D.C., that she was appointed to do by Gov. Phil Bryant to represent the people of Mississippi. The fact that she is doing a good job was highlighted recently when President Donald Trump endorsed her. We are certainly willing to work with organizations that want to discuss scheduling debates, but the dates can’t interfere with her primary responsibility and duty of serving the people of our state in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Hyde-Smith is focused on her job working for the people of Mississippi, and we are not going to allow a grandstanding press release from Chris McDaniel to dictate her schedule,” spokeswoman Melissa Scallan told Mississippi Today.

Hyde-Smith, the former Democrat and Hillary Clinton voter, would have to defend herself mightily against McDaniel in any Senate debate.

Hyde-Smith reportedly purchased a car for herself with her campaign money.

In 2014, Hyde-Smith’s re-election campaign for state Agriculture Commissioner paid more than $24,000 for a Dodge Charger, which Hyde-Smith uses to commute to work at the State Capitol according to photographs. Though not illegal in Mississippi, the former Democrat’s use of campaign dollars for a personal car raises more ethical questions in the wake of our reporting on Umesh Sanjanwala, her heavy donor and state director whose daughter served as a consultant for Hillary Clinton.

Jackson Jambalaya printed photos of Hyde-Smith’s car parked at the state Agriculture office:

Jackson Jambalaya

Jackson Jambalaya also printed the CHS report showing a Hyde-Smith campaign disbursement for $24,255 to Roundtree Dodge of Jackson, Mississippi:

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