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Mississippi Matters Coalition Petitions for Resignation of Sen. Hyde-Smith

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Photo via Mississippi Rising Coalition.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (Rep.) recently faced backlash after a video surfaced of her statement, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” in regards to acknowledging Tupelo cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson’s support for the appointed senator.

In response to the video, Mississippi Matters—a coalition of grassroots Mississippi-based organizations and national partners—created a petition asking for Hyde-Smith’s resignation, as well as her removal from the runoff election, before Mississippi heads back to the polls Nov. 27.

As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, the petition garnered 9,702 signatures. When the petition initially surfaced earlier this week, the goal was to have approximately 4,000 signatures.

Photo via campaigns.organizefor.org

The organization, and those who believe Hyde-Smith should resign, are slated to protest in front of the senator’s office today in Jackson.

One of the organizers of the petition, Edelia J. Carthan, a professor at Tougaloo College and cousin of Emmett Till, said the comments Hyde-Smith made on Nov. 2 are not only insensitive but disrespectful.

“If we do not get the amount of signatures needed to petition, [voters] are going to show up Nov. 27 and vote her out of office,” Carthan said.

Mississippi Matters has taken different measures to have Hyde-Smith removed from office, Carthan said, such as writing letters to Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Majority Leader, asking for the Mississippi Senator’s removal.

The organization hopes to garner even more signatures in a last effort to present the petition to Gov. Phil Bryant along with the U.S. Senate, according to Carthan.

Hyde-Smith came under further backlash this week when a new video surfaced of her speaking to students in Starkville where she said suppressing liberal votes would be a “great idea.”

“There’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. So, I think that’s a great idea,” Hyde-Smith said in the video clip.

Hyde-Smith responded to the latest video’s backlash on her personal Twitter account on Thursday stating that her comments were taken out of context and that she was joking.

Photo via Twitter

A Lafayette County GOP spokesperson, who would not disclose his or her name, said in a Facebook message to Hottytoddy.com that they would like to see the full video of Hyde-Smith’s comments in Starkville.

“The editing seems questionably convenient for the liberal interest group behind it,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also stated that although the Internet petition might have garnered signatures from over “8,000 liberals,” it cannot override the votes of Mississippians—514,000, which 58 percent voted Republican in the Senate Special Election, according to the Lafayette County GOP.

“We look forward to Sen. Hyde-Smith’s continued service to our state and country,” the spokesperson said.

Danny Blanton, opponent and Democrat Mike Espy’s communications director, released a statement on behalf of the Democratic campaign that said obtaining and exercising one’s Constitutional right to vote is not a laughing matter.

Photo via Mike Espy campaign.

Hyde-Smith is not the only candidate in the race under fire for recent incidents. Espy also faces negative comments after accepting full payment of a lobbying contract from Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo in 2011, who is now on trial in international court for crimes against humanity. 

Espy said he halted the business contract and only received a partial payment of the contract in 2011, according to The Clarion Ledger.

However, Fox News reported Thursday that according to U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act documents, Espy’s Jackson-based agricultural consulting firm AE Agritrade received the first payment of $400,000 from Gbagbo in January 2011, which would have been the partial payment.

The document shows that Espy’s firm also received the second payment of $350,000 on March 1, 2011, according to the Clarion Ledger’s report.

Sen. Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy battle for the Senate seat Nov. 27 when Mississippians head back to the polls for a runoff election. 

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