Chris McDaniel claims Cindy Hyde-Smith voted for Hillary Clinton

Tying Hyde-Smith to Clinton seems to be the McDaniel campaign’s newest line of attack against the incumbent senator

A supporter of Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel's run for U.S. Senate holds up a campaign sign accusing his opponent, incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith, of supporting Hillary Clinton at the Neshoba County Fair on Aug. 2, 2018. Photo by Ashton Pittman.

Republican Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel has a new campaign strategy in his bid for U.S. Senate: Claim that incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.

For weeks now, McDaniel has been posting and retweeting badly photoshopped images of Hyde-Smith – like the one below – with Clinton, complete with slogans like, “She’s With Her.” Here, a social media graphic posted on McDaniel’s official Facebook page explicitly says “Cindy Hyde-Smith Voted for Hillary Clinton.”

McDaniel is not wholly wrong in his assertion that Hyde-Smith was a Democrat; Hyde-Smith was first elected as a Democratic state senator in 1999. In 2010, she switched to the Republican Party.

But there is no public evidence that she supported Hillary Clinton – either in her 2008 primary bid for the Democratic nomination for president or in her 2016 run for president. The McDaniel camp stood by the assertion, but offered no evidence to back it up.

Last week, while I was reporting for the Jackson Free Press at the Neshoba County Fair, I asked Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith about the accusation, and she definitively said she has never voted for Clinton:

During Hyde-Smith’s speech, one McDaniel supporter on the front row held a sign that read “Cindy Loves Hillary – BFFs”—a reference to recent accusations McDaniel made that Hyde-Smith voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, rather than then-candidate Donald Trump.

“I would swear on my daughter’s life, I have never voted for Hillary Clinton,” Hyde-Smith said, as she pulled her 19-year-old daughter—Anna-Michael Smith—in for a hug.

On her social media pages, Hyde-Smith as sought to burnish her pro-Trump credentials. In a post Monday, she declared herself “the only U.S. Senator with a 100% Pro-Trump rating.”