2020 Mississippi Senate Candidate Guide

Mike Espy - Democrat
Mike Espy - Democrat
Cindy Hyde-Smith - Republican (Incumbent)
Cindy Hyde-Smith - Republican (Incumbent)

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ABORTION – Legal or ban?

Mike Espy – Legal. “I’m anti-abortion, but I’m pro-choice.” “Women should have the basic right to make their own decisions about their personal health.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Ban. Believes “all children, including the unborn, are guaranteed the right to life by our creator.” Opposes taxpayer funding of abortions. Will confirm anti-abortion judges.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

Mike Espy – Unclear. “Laws against waste, fraud and corruption are to protect the American citizenry and should be dutifully … enforced.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No position found.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Mike Espy – Yes. “It’s beyond time we get serious about tackling climate change and preventing the worst possible effects of the climate crisis.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Voted to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for existing power plants.

CONTRACEPTION – Require health plans to cover birth control?

Mike Espy – Yes. “Will fight for women’s rights” to sufficient insurance and medical care, including birth control and basic services for pregnant women.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No position found.

COURT – Supported nomination of Brett Kavanaugh? See Supreme Court Guide.

Mike Espy – No. “Kavanaugh lacks the judicial temperament to be on our nation’s highest Court. … He’s quick to anger.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Yes. Voted to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

COVID-19 – Support administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic?

Mike Espy – No. “Our federal leaders’ reluctance to act resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans that could have been avoided.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Unclear. Asked Trump to withhold COVID relief to states that prevent religious institutions from reopening.

EDUCATION – Use public funding to send children to private schools?

Mike Espy – No. Does not oppose charter or private schools, but says public funds should be reserved for public schools.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Yes. Supported bill to expand federal grant funding for charter schools in rural areas.

ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen environmental regulations?

Mike Espy – Mixed. Fought EPA regulations that would have hurt Mississippi’s farming industry, but pushed for food safety regulations.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Loosen. Supports the deregulatory path taken by Trump EPA to cut time delays that add costs to infrastructure projects.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Mike Espy – Tighten. Need laws against waste and fraud since “Wall Street seems immune from any restraint or accountability.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Unclear. Sponsored bill to eliminate Federal Insurance Office, and voted to restrict Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulatory authority.

GAY RIGHTS – Support same-sex marriage?

Mike Espy – Yes. “Committed to all Mississippians having access to their rights of citizenship, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. “Personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”

GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive legislation on guns?

Mike Espy – Yes. Believes in the Second Amendment, but “anyone who is a danger to himself or others should not own a firearm.” No assault weapons to anyone under 21.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Is the owner of an enhanced-carry permit, enjoys hunting and works “to prevent the federal government from infringing upon” the right to bear arms.

IMMIGRATION – Create path to citizenship for “DACA” participants brought to the U.S. as children?

Mike Espy – Yes. Says they should be allow to stay in the country “because it is the only place they’ve ever known.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Regarding DACA, says, “there must be consequences for breaking our immigration laws.”

IMMIGRATION – Support border walls and reduced immigration?

Mike Espy – No. Border wall cost can’t be justified. Supports “secure border and enforced immigration laws that are fairly applied.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Yes. Supports Trump’s plans to build a wall on southwestern border and to increase funding to enforce U.S. immigration laws.

IMPEACHMENT – Supported U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Donald Trump and remove him from office?

Mike Espy – Yes. “I would have voted for a fair and full trial where witnesses and documents would have been heard.” But unclear on whether to remove Trump from office.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Voted against conviction, saying, “Those prosecuting the president failed … to produce the evidence required … to remove a duly elected president from office.”

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without Congressional approval?

Mike Espy – No position found.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Voted against a resolution that would prohibit military action against Iran without authorization from Congress.

MARIJUANA – Decriminalize or keep illegal?

Mike Espy – Unclear. “I would just have to know if it was safe,” and “a financial benefit to the state.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Unclear. Voted to block amendment that would have let banks work with legitimate cannabis businesses.

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage?

Mike Espy – Yes. Supports a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Says state and local leaders are best suited to determine wage policies.

OBAMACARE – Repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

Mike Espy – No. Wants to strengthen the ACA. “I’m committed to expanding affordable, accessible health care for every Mississippian,” with Medicaid expansion.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Yes. Wants to help families afford health insurance coverage without expanding government role. Would repeal ACA.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Support organization receiving public funds for non-abortion-related care?

Mike Espy – Probable yes. Will fight for women’s rights and reproductive health care … including availability of medical services.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Supports legislation to prevent any federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood.

POLICE REFORM – Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

Mike Espy – Yes. Calls for transparency with body cameras, a national database of police officers who misbehave and banning such police tactics as the choke hold.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Unclear. Co-sponsored legislation that includes incentives to ban choke holds and to engage in “de-escalation training,” but does not require such reforms.

SAUDI ARABIA – Block arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Mike Espy – No position found.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No. Voted against congressional disapproval of weapons transfer to Saudi Arabia.

STUDENT LOANS – Support lower interest or forgiveness on student loans?

Mike Espy – Yes. Would increase interest subsidies on student loans, and protect students from predatory for-profit schools.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – No position found.

TARIFFS – Support administration tariffs on steel and other products?

Mike Espy – No. “Trump’s tariffs killed jobs, increased prices, and hurt our economy.” State’s farmers and workers deserve better.

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Yes. Tariffs have hurt soybean growers, but they “just have to hold on. … They will be better off in the long run.”

VOTING RIGHTS – Support stricter ID requirements and other rules on voting?

Mike Espy – No. Need to “remove barriers to voting and guard against voter suppression.” “Voting should be easy, efficient and equitable.”

Cindy Hyde-Smith – Yes. Voted for legislation in 2009 making Mississippi one of eight states requiring specific forms of photo ID to vote.

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.