Republican voters rally behind Hyde-Smith despite reservations
Republican voters in Mississippi may not be thrilled with Hyde Smith as a candidate, but they are coalescing behind her as the GOP candidate in the race.
"She's a Republican, I guess," said Jerry Smith, a grandfather and longtime Mississippi resident, about why he was voted for Hyde-Smith. He was not deterred by the backlash to her racially-tinged comments about being willing to attend a "public hanging."
"I think it's been overblown," Smith said over a simmering plate of Chinese food at the Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. "But I ask myself sometimes, which are the two of the least evil – which of the two are the least evil.
Betty Lechman, and Biloxi-resident of five decades, told CBS News' Kathryn Watson that she would vote for Hyde-Smith because she was a Republican.
"But like I said, no one of them, I wish I had someone else to vote for. But it's not going to happen," Lechman added. "All the mud-slinging. I do not like mud-slinging and both of them are doing that."
Her friend, Marion Cranmer, also retired a longtime Mississippi resident, agreed.
"There's been a lot of mud-slinging," Cranmer said, frustrated. "You just wonder sometimes what you hear about her if some of it's not true But it just kind of puts you on the fence I do not like either of them."
As of Monday, Cranmer was not sure if she would be voting. But, "if you do not vote for her, it's a vote for him," she added.
Dianne Swennumson, an Espy's supporter, said she was not confident about Democratic candidate's chances. She and her husband have supported Republicans in the past but say they're appalled by Mr. Trump's rhetoric and behavior. Swennumson was always planning to vote for Espy, but felt more certain about her decision after Hyde Smith's "public hanging" comment.
"I think he has a chance but I think this is Mississippi," Swennumson said. "I wish we could be like Alabama who had enough with Roy Moore, you know. I really did not think that was going to happen but it did, and it could be."
"I'll be totally shocked if Espy wins," Swennumson added.
Reporting by Kathryn Watson