Democrat Mike Espy, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in November, said Tuesday morning his campaign has raised $1 million since Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday.
“Since Friday, September 18, Mike Espy has raised five times more than Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith did during the entire second quarter,” Espy’s campaign said in a press release. “Last quarter, Espy for Senate outraised Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith three-to-one.”
Democratic donors nationwide have been pouring money into Senate races since Ginsburg’s death and ensuing debate over whether Republican President Donald Trump should quickly name a replacement for the iconic liberal judge or wait until after the presidential election.
Both Hyde-Smith and Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi have sided with Trump, saying a replacement for Ginsburg should be nominated post-haste and ratified by the Senate before the election.
Mississippi’s Senate race this year has not been considered competitive by most pundits, with Republican incumbent Hyde-Smith expected to easily win reelection in one of the reddest states in the country.
But one poll released this week showed Hyde-Smith with only a one-point lead and the Espy campaign said it has “momentum,” as evidenced by its historic fundraising levels and other polls showing he is closing the gap with Hyde-Smith. The campaign said that over 23,000 first-time donors to the campaign since Friday made an average donation of $23.
While a fundraising advantage doesn’t translate to votes, an influx of cash 42 days from Election Day could loom large for Espy, who has acknowledged his need to reach more Mississippi voters during the COVID-19 pandemic and has largely been ignored by national Democrats.
Hyde-Smith, meanwhile, has struggled raising cash this cycle. Among incumbent senators, Hyde-Smith has raised less than 96 incumbent senators, including Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, who doesn’t face another election until 2024. The three Senate incumbents who raised less than Hyde-Smith have announced they will not seek re-election.
“It’s more clear than ever that people are tired of Senator Hyde-Smith’s record of hurting this state and holding it back,” Espy’s campaign manager Joe O’Hern said. “Mississippians are looking for an independent leader who is standing up for them — not a Senator who has hidden from them during a pandemic and the crushing economic crisis.”