Democrat nominee Mike Espy’s campaign today released “Reach Out,” his third television ad of the upcoming U.S. Senate race.
“The launch of the third TV ad comes after a groundswell of momentum and excitement in September,” the campaign said in an email release. “‘Reach Out’ contrasts Mike Espy’s record working across the aisle to move Mississippi forward with Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s record of hurting Mississippi and holding Mississippi back. Evident in the ad is Mike Espy’s cross-party appeal and his commitment to building the widest electoral coalition in Mississippi history.”
Cliff Heaton is identified as a “Republican farmer.” He operates a cotton gin outside of Clarksdale, and is described as a long-time and supporter of Espy by WREG in 2018.
The Espy campaigned pulled Heaton in to speak with MSNBC on behalf of the campaign in the lead up to the 2018 election. In that interview, Heaton says he is a “Republican by nature,” but goes on to almost exclusively praise Democrat office holders, including former Senators John Stennis and Jim Eastland and former Congressman Jamie Whitten.
For a “Republican farmer,” Heaton has a documented history of donating to Democrat campaigns. He donated $500 to former Democrat Congressman Travis Childers in 2008. In 2011, he gave Democrat gubernatorial candidate Bill Luckett $1,000. Heaton has donated $6,500 to Espy’s two campaigns.
“I'm a Republican, and I mostly vote for Republicans. But I also vote for the person, and that's why I'm voting for Mike Espy because he's the best person to lead Mississippi.”
Means a lot to have Cliff Heaton's support. pic.twitter.com/yLSzmtJLm0
— Mike Espy (@MikeEspyMS) November 21, 2018
At least two of the three others mentioned in the new Espy ad are Democrat supporters. They include:
- Dr. Timothy Quinn, a physician at Quinn Healthcare in Ridgeland. He has donated money to both Espy and Congressman Bennie Thompson over the years.
- Dr. Inez Kelleher, a orthopedic surgeon in Biloxi. She ran for the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2019 as a Democrat in District 117, losing the general election to Republican Kevin Felsher. She donated to the Democratic Party in 2019, and has been vocal against President Trump on her Facebook posts.
- Rachel Killebrew, a teacher in the Madison County School District.
Espy is facing incumbent Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Libertarian Jimmy Edwards in the November 3rd election. Hyde-Smith beat Espy in a 2018 special election runoff 54-46%.