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The Latest: Dem touts ‘diversity’ in Mississippi Senate race

Several dozen people stand in line outside the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, Miss., on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, waiting to cast absentee ballots in a U.S. Senate election runoff between Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy. Saturday was the deadline for people to cast absentee ballots at circuit clerks' offices, and it is unusual to see lines on the absentee deadline day. The runoff election is Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, and the winner will serve the final two years of a six-year term started by longtime Sen. Thad Cochran. Mississippi's Republican governor appointed Hyde-Smith to serve temporarily when Cochran retired because of health concerns. (AP Photo/Emily Wagster Pettus)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. Senate runoff election in Mississippi (all times local):

5 p.m.

A black Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Mississippi says he would bring experience of “diversity” and “inclusion” to the job, and he thinks the Republican he’s trying to unseat has a different background.

Democrat Mike Espy spoke Saturday about how he and his twin sister were among the 17 black students who integrated the all-white Yazoo City High School in 1969, graduating in 1971.

An independent newspaper, the Jackson Free Press, reported late Friday that Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith attended a white private school founded in 1970, the year many Mississippi public high schools integrated. She graduated from Lawrence County Academy in 1977.

Hyde-Smith campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan responded to the report about Hyde-Smith’s high school attendance by saying, “the gotcha liberal media has taken leave of their senses.”

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4:30 p.m.

More than 43,000 absentee ballots have been requested ahead of a Mississippi runoff election, which includes a hard-fought U.S. Senate race.

The secretary of state’s office says Saturday that the number could increase as circuit clerks continue compiling information. The total includes absentee ballots that were requested by mail and absentee ballots that were cast at circuit clerks’ offices. Saturday was the deadline for in-person absentee voting, and people waited in line at some courthouses, including Hinds County.

People 65 or older are allowed to vote absentee, as are people who will be away from their home county on Election Day.

About 69,000 absentee ballots were requested before Mississippi’s Nov. 6 election. There’s typically a large decrease in ballots cast between the first election and a runoff.

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2:25 p.m.

Several dozen voters in Mississippi’s largest county have been waiting in a line stretching outside the courthouse to cast absentee ballots in a U.S. Senate runoff.

The contest is between white Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, and Democratic challenger Mike Espy, a former U.S. agriculture commissioner who is seeking to become the first African-American senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction.

The runoff is Tuesday. Saturday was the deadline for people to cast absentee ballots at circuit clerks’ offices.

People 65 or older are allowed to vote absentee, as are people who will be away from their home county on Election Day.

A 92-year-old voter from Jackson, Illinois Cox Littleton, says she voted for Espy because she considers him “a highly intelligent man.”

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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