>> We knew, every stop we made we said more than likely there'll be a run off, but we are prepared for it. We have already got our plan in action for that.>> But that plan may have changed after appointed Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith was seen in a video making a comment about attending a public hanging.
While praising a supporter she said, if he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row. She said it was in jest, but it's now fueling Democratic hopes of an upset in Mississippi's special election runoff where she's up against Democrat Mike Espy, a black former Congressman and US Agriculture Secretary.
Reuters correspondent, John Whitesides.>> Yeah, Mike Espy is definitely still an underdog despite this controversy. Mississippi is one of the more Republican states in the country, they haven't elected a Democratic senator since 1982. And Donald Trump won the state by 18 percentage points in 2016 so it's very conservative and Espy's gonna still have a tough battle.
>> The November 27th runoff will test the power of the black votes in a conservative state with an ugly history of racist violence. Where, according to the NAACP, more lynchings took place between 1882 and 1968 than any other state.>> Many companies, both in Mississippi and nationally, that had supported Hyde-Smith have started to sort of back away.
Walmart, being the most prominent, had tweeted this morning that they didn't know about her comments at the time they'd made the donation to her and they asked for their money back.>> But the current Republican governor Phil Bryant recently said Hyde-Smith meant no ill will.>> I can tell you all of us in public life have said things on occasion that we could have phrased better.
She meant no offense by that statement.>> Hyde-Smith and Espy, who are nearly deadlocked at about 41% of the vote, will meet in a debate Tuesday night.