Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Mike Espy raised nearly $3.9 million in early October. Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith raised just $85,000.

Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Mike Espy raised nearly $3.9 million in campaign cash over the first two weeks in October, compared to less than $85,000 raised by incumbent Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith.

The campaigns filed their last major finance reports on Thursday, ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

Espy, buoyed by a nationwide flood of cash to Democratic congressional candidates, had raised nearly $9.3 million total for the race as of Oct. 14. Hyde-Smith had raised just under $3 million.

Espy reported having nearly $3.7 million cash on hand for the critical final stretch of the race. Hyde-Smith reported having $777,000 cash on hand.

READ MORE: Espy uses massive cash advantage for ad blitz in final days of Senate race

It’s nearly unheard of for a Democratic challenger to outraise a Republican incumbent in deeply red Mississippi, and Espy has used his cash advantage to bombard the airwaves with his messaging and create a large field operation.

Hyde-Smith has done comparatively little campaigning and less advertising than Espy. Most national political prognosticators still consider Mississippi “safely Republican” for the Senate and presidential election, but Espy’s campaign has received some recent national attention as a potential Democratic upset as the national parties battle for control of the Senate.


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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.