After ‘public hanging’ remark, Cindy Hyde-Smith reports thousands in new contributions

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith leaves the Capitol after a vote on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Shortly after generating controversy by joking about attending a public hanging, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) — who is locked in a run-off race with Democratic challenger Mike Espy — reported 17 new contributions totaling $65,700.

Google’s PAC was one of the contributors, giving $5,000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to an FEC report filed Tuesday. It’s the first contribution the PAC has given to Hyde-Smith’s campaign so far, but Google says it was made far before her controversial remark.

“This contribution was made on November 2nd before Senator Hyde-Smith’s remarks became public on November 11th,” a Google spokesperson said Wednesday. “While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them.”

It isn’t uncommon for contributions to candidates to be disclosed late, as it is up to Hyde-Smith’s campaign committee to report the contributions.

Several non-partisan PACs gave $5,000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign according to the recent FEC filing, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Association of Realtors (NAR), and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), all of which previously gave to Hyde-Smith earlier in the election cycle.

NAHB declined to comment on its PAC’s contribution. The other two organizations did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. 

NCBA gave the maximum $10,000 contribution to Hyde-Smith before the general election, but by FEC rules it can now give again because the election has gone to a run-off.

Hyde-Smith made her “public hanging” remark during a Nov. 2 event, but it didn’t go viral until 10 days later. The incumbent Senator defended herself, saying, “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.”

The runoff election between Hyde-Smith and Espy will take place Nov. 27. Hyde-Smith garnered 41.4 percent of the vote during the general election, while Espy got 40.7 and Chris McDaniel — a second Republican in the race — was third with 16.5 percent.

Though no new polls have come out since Hyde-Smith’s comments, she is still considered the favorite in a state that has not had a Democratic Senator in nearly 30 years.

In a year dominated by massive Democratic fundraising, Espy collected just $1.96 million through mid-October — compared to $3 million for Hyde-Smith and $3.77 million for McDaniel – — as he was not expected to win in the deep-red state.

Outside spending has been paltry too, has totaled less than $6 million so far. Conservative groups have already spent more than $90,000 in opposition of Espy since the election, but attack ads against Hyde-Smith are also already underway.

PowerPACPlus recently released an ad overlaying Hyde-Smith onto a picture of a lynching. The ad was reprimanded by both Hyde-Smith and Espy as being inappropriate. 

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