At the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia on Thursday, the pavilion was packed with supporters of conservative Republican State Senator Chris McDaniel, who is running for the seat currently held by Republican Senator Cindy Hyde Smith.
McDaniel’s supporters waved replicas of the Confederate emblem-bearing Mississippi state flag, and held signs urging Hyde-Smith to join McDaniel for a debate. “Cindy Loves Hillary – BFFs.” Quite a few Republican speakers were met with steely receptions, but none like Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.
As I reported in the Jackson Free Press on Friday:
Democratic candidate Mike Espy – who is also running for Hyde-Smith’s seat – received a significantly warmer reception:
Hyde-Smith’s reception was markedly different from that of her and McDaniel’s Democratic opponent, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy. Espy received polite applause throughout his speech.
Democrat David Baria, who is running for the seat held by incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Roger Wicker – who McDaniel initially declared a primary campaign against in February before switching to the special election after Senator Thad Cochran retired, was received even better:
“In the Mississippi I know, if a man is not willing to stand toe to toe and defend his beliefs, he does not deserve your vote,” Baria said, earning applause from McDaniel supporters in the crowd. “‘Roger the Dodger’ has a nice ring to it, dutin’it?”
When I asked Senator Hyde-Smith why she thought the two Democratic men received a warm reception while she was met with an onslaught of boos and heckling, her answer was simple:
“Haters are just gonna hate,” Hyde-Smith said to the Jackson Free Press as she stepped off the stage. “That’s what they do.”
Supporters of Sen. Chris McDaniel, however, gave me a slightly different reason. You can read my full report from the Neshoba County Fair here.
The jungle-primary style special election between Republicans McDaniel and Hyde-Smith and Democrat Espy will be held on November 6, 2018. On the same day, Baria will go head-to-head against Republican Wicker in the national midterms.
Watch Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s speech at the Neshoba County Fair: