Mike Espy has announced a run for United States Senate in 2020 after essentially non-stop campaigning against current U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith since 2018 for the seat. Espy launched his campaign by releasing a video called “This Time”.  In it, he takes dead aim at his presumptive general election opponent, Hyde-Smith.

“There are too many people in our state who can’t find a decent job. Rural hospitals across our state are closing. And the price for education is too high. Meanwhile, Washington is a mess, and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has done little to truly help the Magnolia State,” Espy said. “It feels like a new crisis dominates the headlines every day but does nothing to create jobs or improve our communities. Too often, our current Senator puts party over country instead of doing what’s best for our state and even our national security.”

In a release from the campaign, sent by former press contact for Jim Hood, Margret Ann Morgan, Espy said he is committed to focusing on healthcare, better job opportunities, support for Mississippi farmers and improvements to public education. He emphasized a desire to bring bipartisan support on the issues.

“This campaign isn’t about one person or one party,” Espy said. “It’s about all of us rising up to fight for what’s best for our great state and our country. Mississippians haven’t forgotten the unfortunate comments made by our current Senator last year about public hangings and voter suppression, or the picture of her proudly wearing Confederate garb. Mississippi wants and deserves a leader with dignity and respect for all—someone who will move our state forward instead of continuing to hold us back. That is why I’m running.”

In his announcement video, Espy shares how his family history shapes his desire and lifelong devotion to help Mississippians and makes him uniquely qualified to serve as Senator.

“Mississippi is changing,” Espy says to open the video. “My great-grandparents were slaves brought to Mississippi from Virginia and Georgia. But their son—my grandfather… founded the first hospital for African-Americans in Mississippi… My grandfather broke barriers and through his legacy and fortitude, decades later, I would break a few more—becoming the first African-American to represent Mississippi in the United States House of Representatives, and the first and only African-American United States Secretary of Agriculture.”

Last year Espy entered the Senate Special Election against two Republicans: Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and then State Senator Chris McDaniel. Hyde-Smith and Espy were successful in the general election, leading to a runoff at the end of November.

After the news if Espy’s run broke, Hyde-Smith responded with this comment.

“As the 2020 campaign approaches, I look forward to discussing once again with Mississippi voters our vision for the best ways to move our state and country forward.  I’m proud to have helped lead efforts to transform our federal courts with conservative judges, improve border security, continue modernizing our military, and pass pro-growth policies that have created new jobs and better wages.” – Senator Cindy Hyde- Smith.

When the votes were counted, Hyde-Smith brought in a total of 479,278 (54%) to Espy’s 410,693 (46%). For reference, in 2008 when US Senator Roger Wicker beat former Governor Ronnie Musgrove in a similar split of 55% to 45%.

Espy previously served as the 25th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture form 1993 to 1994. He was the first African American and person from the Deep South the hold the position during the Bill Clinton administration.