Students from Barack H. Obama Magnet School  in Jackson cheer for Mike Espy after a town hall on Nov. 15, 2018.

Former President Barack Obama endorsed Democratic Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy on Wednesday, and the Espy campaign announced Obama’s endorsement message will be broadcast statewide in a radio advertisement.

“Mike Espy has a great chance to win this election for the Senate and keep Mississippi moving forward,” Obama said in his endorsement statement. “You were finally able to change the flag. Now, you can change your senator, too. Mike Espy for Senate and Joe Biden for President. It’s your time to be heard.”

Former President Barack Obama

Obama encouraged Mississippians to make a plan to vote, check their polling place and bring identification.

Espy in a statement said: “I am honored to have the endorsement of the 44th president of the United States of America. President Barack Obama governed with dignity and effectiveness. He is remembered and will continue to be remembered as a very good president.”

Espy had already been endorsed by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. In two recent rounds of endorsements of more than 100 Democratic candidates across the country, Obama had failed to endorse Espy, which Espy has chalked up to oversight on the part of Obama’s staff.

A hallmark of Espy’s 2020 campaign strategy is to get nearly 100,000 Black Mississippi voters who have not turned out since Obama’s first presidential win in 2008 to vote on Nov. 3.

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.