JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — Democrat Mike Espy anticipates another showdown with Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who defeated him 54% to 46% in a special election last year. In announcing his 2020 candidacy Espy said he wants to build on his base of support from the 2018 race by increasing turnout among African American voters. Espy says he has data showing which GOP-leaning precincts in Mississippi are most likely to flip Democratic. In 1986 Espy became Mississippi’s first African American congressman since Reconstruction and was named US Secretary of Agriculture by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The state’s last Democratic senator was John Stennis who left office in 1989. Attorney general Jim Hood was the only Democrat holding statewide office in recent years and he lost the governor’s race this year to Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. African Americans are about 38% of Mississippi’s population, but Espy said African Americans were 32.5% of the people who voted for in the 2018 Senate race. Espy says he needs to increase the black vote to about 35% of the electorate. Espy also said he needs more white voters after receiving 18% of the white vote in 2018.[sc name=”twitterfollow”]
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