MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy held a debate Tuesday night for the Mississippi Senate special election runoff.
The winner of this Senate race will replace Thad Cochran who resigned in April.
It’s one of the last races to be decided in the 2018 Midterms, and it will determine the ultimate balance of the U.S. Senate.
The question about Hyde-Smith's public hanging comment came about 15 minutes into the debate, and this time, she answered, offering an apology.
Espy, however, questioned her sincerity.
"You know anyone that was offended from my comments, I certainly apologize there was no Ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements,” Hyde-Smith said.
The Republican senator has been under fire since she was caught on camera telling a supporter that she’s known since he was in high school if the ever invited her to public hanging, she would be in the front row.
She again reiterated Tuesday night that the statement was not meant to be taken literally.
“I also recognize that this comment was twisted used against me," Hyde-Smith said.
"No one twisted your comments because those comments were live,” Espy replied. “They came out of your mouth. I don’t know what was in your heart, but it came out of your mouth.”
The rest of the debate went as expected, with Hyde-Smith closely aligning herself with President Donald Trump on issues like repealing Obamacare, protecting the Second Amendment, and the state of the economy
“I am so excited in supporting President Trump’s tax cuts,” Hyde-Smith said. “When the corporate tax rate went from 35 percent to 21 percent, that changed this country. That changes this state. Our economy has been the best it’s been in decades.”
Espy sold himself more as an independent.
"I tried to show today I was someone who could rise above and reach across and build common purpose,” Espy said.
After the debate, both candidates were invited to come to a podium and answer questions from the media.
Espy did come out. Hyde-Smith elected not to, sending Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker to speak on her behalf.
Now that the debate is over, the campaigning continues.
President Trump will be back in the Magnolia State on Monday campaigning for Hyde-Smith at campaign rallies in Tupelo and Biloxi.