Hyde-Smith appears to joke that making it harder for students to vote is a ‘great idea’

Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 19:46:38-05

Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith appeared to say laws that make it “just a little more difficult” for attendees of some of the state’s universities to vote are a “great idea” in a video posted Thursday.

“And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea,” Hyde-Smith says in the video.

There is no additional context included in the video. Hyde-Smith’s campaign said in a statement she was “making a joke” and that the video was “selectively edited.”

“Obviously Sen. Hyde-Smith was making a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited,” said Hyde-Smith campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan.

Hyde-Smith faces Democratic former Rep. Mike Espy in a runoff for Mississippi’s Senate seat on November 27.

The progressive blogger who posted the video, Lamar White Jr., is the same blogger who recently posted video of Hyde-Smith joking that she’d be in “the front row” if one of her supporters invited her to a “public hanging.”

Hyde-Smith issued a statement after the video posted, saying, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. 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.”

White Jr. said the new video was recorded November 3 in Starkville. According to a schedule of events Hyde-Smith’s campaign released ahead of time, the senator was in town for the Mississippi State University football game against Louisiana Tech.

The video doesn’t make clear what she meant by “those other schools.” Mississippi is home to several historically black colleges and universities, and black voters in the state overwhelmingly back Democrats. Hyde-Smith’s campaign did not immediately respond to a question about which schools she’d meant.

“For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter,” Espy spokesman Danny Blanton said. “Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state.”