TUPELO, MS (WMC) - Don’t take chances Tuesday; that was the message from President Donald Trump in Tupelo, Mississippi Monday as he made a last-minute campaign stop for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Hyde-Smith is facing Democratic challenger Mike Espy Tuesday in a special runoff for U.S. Senate.
Trump departed Air Force One side-by-side with Hyde-Smith, and he opened his speech by recognizing Tupelo as the proud birth place of Elvis who the president recently honored with a Medal of Freedom. The president then compared himself to the King of Rock, saying, “When I was growing up they said I looked like Elvis."
Trump called the Mississippi senate race one of the most important elections and implored the crowd at Tupelo Regional Airport to vote Republican Tuesday.
“We cannot allow Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to promote that victory by winning the great state of Mississippi,” he said. “That’s not possible. Is that possible? I don’t think so.”
Trump called Hyde-Smith a special woman, saying she votes to “Make America Great Again” and “America First.” He said the election is about preserving a strong military, a safe community and a soaring economy, and Mississippians need to send Hyde-Smith back to the Senate.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I tell you, it is great to have the POTUS right here in Mississippi,” said Hyde-Smith. “I said early on, this campaign isn’t about me,” said Hyde-Smith. “It’s about you.”
Hyde-Smith said her campaign is about lower taxes, less government, fewer regulations, standing up for pro-life issues and defending second amendment rights.
“I’ve worked very, very hard for you,” said Hyde-Smith. “I have stood up for you and you know I will continue to stand up for the conservative values of Mississippi.
Hyde-Smith said she appreciated the president’s endorsement and the Mississippi governor’s endorsement.
“But the endorsement that’s most important to me is your vote tomorrow,” said Hyde-Smith.
The president thanked other Republican leaders for their support and attendance Monday, including Gov. Phil Bryant and Sen. Roger Wicker, both of Mississippi, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina.
Graham even took the podium briefly on behalf of Hyde-Smith.
“When Kavanaugh needed your senator she was there,” said Graham. “I want you to show up Tuesday. We’re going to start over in 2019.”
Controversy has filled Hyde-Smith’s campaign, from her comments on public hangings to major corporations requesting refunds for their campaign donations. Despite the controversy, Trump has been vocal in his support for Hyde-Smith. He tweeted over the weekend that she’s “an outstanding person who is strong on the Border, Crime, Military ... Needed in D.C.”
As for Espy, he has support from Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden. Espy had several campaign events planned for the day before the runoff, including a rally with gospel singers in Jackson at the same time as the president’s visit to Tupelo.
Trump’s visit to Tupelo was the first of two campaign stops in Mississippi. The second is in Biloxi where a crowd began forming hours before his scheduled visit.