Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s first 2020 attack of Mike Espy foreshadows a contentious two-and-a-half weeks before the Nov. 3 Senate election.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Republican incumbent running for re-election on Nov. 3, released an attack ad of Democratic challenger Mike Espy this week, foreshadowing a contentious two-and-a-half weeks before the election.

Espy, meanwhile, released two new ads this week touting his desire to reach across the aisle and “deliver for Mississippi.”

The attack ad from Hyde-Smith follows her campaign’s messaging this week that Espy is “desperate” and “is still losing.” Earlier this cycle, Espy released two attacks ads on Hyde-Smith.

“In the election for Senate, you have a clear choice,” a narrator in the Hyde-Smith ad says. “Mike Espy voted to raise your taxes but refused to pay his on time. Cindy Hyde-Smith voted to cut your taxes and grow our economy. Mike Espy voted to give taxpayer funded healthcare to illegal aliens. Cindy Hyde-Smith voted to help rural hospitals with more funding for healthcare. Mike Espy worked as a lobbyist for a foreign dictator charged with war crimes. Cindy Hyde-Smith supports America’s military and law enforcement.”

READ MORE: Espy, in 2018, discusses criticism that he lobbied for Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo. 

An Espy ad that first began airing on Thursday features a Jackson woman, Jennie Eichelberger, discussing why she believes Espy is a better choice than Hyde-Smith. 

“Mississippi is a great place to raise a family, but I’m worried our kids will have to leave here to get better jobs,” Eichelberger says, looking directly into the camera. “We need someone in the U.S. Senate who knows how to promote this state. Mike Espy has been delivering for Mississippi his whole life. Cindy Hyde-Smith is costing us jobs, talking about public hangings, refusing to support changing the state flag. It’s not who we are today.” 

Earlier in the week, Espy released an ad in which he touts working across the aisle.

“I was Mississippi’s first Black congressman since Reconstruction, and I’ve always fought to deliver for our state,” Espy says in the ad that first aired on Sunday. “I’ve passed laws with Republicans,  like Thad Cochran and President Reagan, to bring good jobs here. And as Secretary of Agriculture, I opened markets for Mississippi all around the world.”

Espy continued: “I approve this message because I do what’s best for Mississippi regardless of party, and I know how to get our fair share in Washington.”

The Hyde-Smith and Espy campaigns plan to flood Mississippi airwaves with ads between now and Election Day. The latest campaign finance reports, which will show how much money each campaign has to spend in the waning days of the election, are due to be submitted by the end of the day Thursday.

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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.