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The Latest: Trump could return to Mississippi for senator

JACKSON  (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. Senate special election runoff in Mississippi (all times local):

6:20 p.m.
President Donald Trump might return to Mississippi to campaign for a Republican U.S. senator who’s facing a Democrat in a runoff.

The White House is looking at holding a rally in Mississippi before the Nov. 27 runoff, but plans were still not definite on Wednesday. That’s according to a person with knowledge of White House thinking who is not authorized to speak publicly.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy, who is a former U.S. agriculture secretary.

Trump endorsed Hyde-Smith in August, and she appeared with him at a rally in early October in northern Mississippi.

Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith as a temporary successor to longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired in April. The runoff winner gets the final two years of a term Cochran started.
4:28 p.m.
A black Democratic challenger says a white Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi needs to fully explain her comment about a “public hanging.”

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith made the comment in a video that surfaced Sunday. She praised a cattle rancher at a Nov. 2 campaign event by saying: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Democrat Mike Espy said Wednesday in Jackson that Hyde-Smith’s comment was “hurtful and harmful.”
Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings.

Hyde-Smith has said she used an “exaggerated expression of regard” for a supporter. She would not answer reporters’ repeated questions about it Monday in Mississippi.

Hyde-Smith and Espy are competing in a Nov. 27 runoff, with the winner getting the final two years of a term.