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But on Monday, he painted Democrats as radical and unsafe as he stumped for Republican Sen.

In between orientation sessions for incoming members of Congress, Representative-elect Ayanna Pressley took some time over the weekend to travel to MS to stump for Mike Espy, a fellow Democrat facing an appointed Republican incumbent for one of the state's two US Senate seats.

While Republicans did well in Senate races, Democrats took control of the US House of Representatives from Republicans in midterm congressional elections three weeks ago. She said of her decision to have a child later in life, "At 39 years old, I knew I wanted a child".

She said, "We've prayed more than you can imagine - down at the heart of our home, at church, we prayed a few times before we came here".

Democrats expect high turnout from their base, boosted in part by backlash to Hyde-Smith's comments about being first in line to a public hanging if one of her supporters invited her, and a second remark about limiting liberals' ability to vote.

"She certainly didn't mean that and it was taken a certain way, but she certainly didn't mean it", he said.

Hyde-Smith refused to apologize for either statement, declaring that she had been joking on both occasions, but then declined all interview requests or further comment on the subject, until she was forced to address it in her lone debate with Espy.

Hyde-Smith has campaigned as an unwavering supporter of President Trump, who campaigned with her Monday, praising her at a rally in the northeastern MS city of Tupelo for voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The special election victor gets to serve out the final two years of Cochran's term.

Another sign referred to Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

Mr Espy is trying to become the first African-American US senator from MS since Reconstruction.

Nooses were found hanging from trees and hate signs posted on the lawn of the Mississippi State Capitol building, on the eve of a U.S. Senate runoff election that has focused attention on the state's troubled history of race relations.

President Donald Trump fired up a MS rally crowd Monday by referring to barbed-wire fences erected by military troops along the U.S. -Mexico border as "pretty nasty".

Trump was in MS stumping for Republican Sen. "That really offended me", said Charles Connley, 60, a black voter from Picayune.

"This comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me", Hyde-Smith said. And, given that Hyde-Smith was in the process of showing some pretty ugly true colors at the time, Major League Baseball should not have done it.

Hyde-Smith, a staunch Republican, is running with a slight lead against Democrat Mike Espy.

The comments triggered a political firestorm in a state that has a history of racism and lynchings and was a flashpoint in America's civil rights struggle.

GULFPORT, MISS-Republicans in MS may not be in love with Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year after longtime Sen. She noted that the country's ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, is being tried in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. "I resigned the contract".

Espy, meanwhile, said on Monday he knew nothing about the nooses or signs, and added it would be "unfair" to make any connection between the items and Hyde-Smith.

The state has voted reliably Republican for the past 30 years. "Because I was not guilty", Espy told the Associated Press in October.