Mike Espy Files Paperwork For A 2020 Run After Losing Bid For Mississippi Senate Seat
Mississippi Democrat Mike Espy wants to run for Senate again.
On November 30, his 65th birthday, Espy’s committee filed papers to keep the Espy Victory Fund, his fundraising outlet, open for business, according to WJTV. While he cannot declare his candidacy until January 2020, the move sets him up for another run against Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. The submission of the papers came three days after he lost to incumbent Republican Hyde-Smith by fewer than eight points.
Espy's senior strategist, Brad Chism, said the election energized the former United States secretary of agriculture despite his defeat.
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"Mike Espy feels very encouraged by the results Tuesday night. There is a strong movement underway, and Mississippi has a bright future,” Chism told WJTV.
Espy campaign communications director Danny Blanton agrees.
"Secretary Espy did a lot of soul searching and determined that there's still too much to be done in Mississippi and wanted to put himself in a good position if he does decide to run," Blanton told The Jackson Free Press. "As Mike said in his concession, this isn't the end — it's the beginning."
Espy lost his Senate race by the closest margin Mississippi has seen since 1982 and was able to turn nine counties that were red in the 2014 midterms blue.
His gains were especially notable since he only had eight months to prepare for the election after Senator Thad Cochran (R) resigned due to health concerns. Hyde-Smith was appointed interim senator by Governor Phil Bryant (R) in April.
"You've got to remember that when we started this campaign in April, we had eight months to do what normally people have two years to do," Blanton said. "So if this is going to be done again, he's going to give himself time to do it the right way and not be rushed."
Blanton reiterated there are no official campaign staffers in place and the filing is just the first step of many.
"It's going to take time to really determine any kind of strategy, any kind of timing, any kind of staff presence," Blanton added. "All this is going to take time. Right now, we're just filing with the FEC to give them notice of our intent and interest."
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