Booker to campaign for Dem in Mississippi Senate runoff

Booker to campaign for Dem in Mississippi Senate runoff

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGillum to speak at gathering of top Dem donors: report Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving McConnell agrees to vote on Trump-backed criminal justice bill MORE (D-N.J.) is set to campaign for Mississippi Democratic Senate candidate Mike Espy on Monday, Booker's campaign confirmed to The Hill.

Booker’s appearance comes less than two weeks before Espy takes on GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in a runoff election to serve the remaining two years of former Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom Line Races Dems narrowly lost show party needs to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy Espy files to run for Senate in 2020, setting up possible rematch with Hyde-Smith MORE’s (R) term after his retirement.

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It will be Booker’s second trip to the state to campaign for Espy, following a July visit.

Booker is seen as a potential 2020 presidential candidate and has campaigned for several Democrats in this year's midterms.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisO'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll Kamala Harris to keep seat on Judiciary Committee California dreamin’ in the 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Calif.), another potential 2020 contender, is scheduled to campaign for Espy on Saturday in Jackson, Miss.

Hyde-Smith is seen as the strong favorite in the strongly conservative state, but a number of recent controversies have shaken up the race.

Hyde-Smith has been dogged by controversy following a joke about attending a “public hanging” in a state that has a history of lynchings and a significant African American population.

A video showed Hyde-Smith joking that she’d be “on the front row” should a supporter she was campaigning with invite her to a “public hanging."

Hyde-Smith has downplayed the comments as an "exaggerated expression of regard" for the supporter.

But Espy, who would be Mississippi's first black senator since Reconstruction, called the remark "reprehensible" and "hurtful."

In another incident, a video showed Hyde-Smith joking about making it harder for liberal students to vote.

“Obviously Sen. Hyde-Smith was making a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited,” Melissa Scallan, a campaign, spokeswoman, told The Hill in a statement.

Neither Hyde-Smith nor Espy garnered more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, so the two are headed to a runoff on Nov. 27.

Booker's plans to campaign for Espy were first reported by Politico.

Updated: 4:29 p.m.