DECISION 2018 | THE RUNOFF: Hyde-Smith, Espy prepare for Tuesday’s Senate debate

The debate will stream exclusively on WLBT Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.
Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy  (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy (Source: WMC Action News 5)(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Nov. 19, 2018 at 8:46 PM CST
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Time is winding down in Mississippi’s Senate special election runoff.

The campaigns are in crunch time, with this being the final week of campaigning.

But they’re also aware of the statewide audience they’ll have for Tuesday’s debate.

National party leaders are still weighing in on the Mississippi Senate runoff.

President Trump is again reinforcing his support of Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Meanwhile, Mike Espy’s campaign is pushing a new endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden Endorses Mike Espy

Thank you, Vice President Biden, for saying so plainly what is at stake on November 27. #EspyForSenate #MSsen

Posted by Mike Espy on Monday, November 19, 2018

The campaigns both tell us the candidates are debate prepping Monday. And analysts say there’s a lot for the campaigns to consider.

“One of the most important things for a candidate to do in a debate is to survive," said Republican analyst Austin Barbour. "You don’t want to make the big mistake, but you also want to try to find momentum. You want to try to find ways to be endearing to the audience. You want to find ways to prove to the audience ‘this is why I believe in these particular things.’”

“This will be the first time that many voters have a chance to hear from the candidates themselves on issues that are important to them,” noted Democratic analyst Brandon Jones.

But remember, a holiday does fall between debate and election day, and analysts say that can’t be overlooked.

“It’s very important because you have basically less than a week from when this debate ends 'til election day,” noted Barbour. "So, you’ve got to be really really good with this debate. If you make a mistake, you have just a few days to try to recover from that, and one of those days is Thanksgiving when nobody’s going to be paying attention and the day after that is when everybody goes shopping and nobody’s going to be paying attention.”

“To the extent that there’s an answer that’s confusing or conflicting or that causes some problems, there’s not a whole lot of time to make that up,” added Jones. "And the thousands of people that watch the debate may not stick around for the cleanup.”

Both analysts say the debate could serve an important role in helping voters who are still undecided or unsure about the candidates.

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