Google has joined a number of major organisations demanding refunds for campaign donations sent to Cindy Hyde-Smith whose controversial racial remarks have drawn backlash just before a crucial run-off election for a Senate seat in Mississippi.
As voters flocked to the polls to cast their ballots in the final senatorial election of the 2018 midterms, Google confirmed it had requested a $5,000 refund for a donation the tech giant had previously sent to the senator’s re-election campaign.
The company’s withdrawal of support for Ms Hyde-Smith arrived amid continued outcry over the senator’s comments from a campaign event earlier this month, in which she said of one of her supporters, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be in the front row.”
When asked whether Google had decided to request a refund for its campaign donations, a representative told Time Magazine, “We can confirm this is accurate.”
Ms Hyde-Smith’s remarks and history surrounding racial relations has become one of the central focuses to the race, which was once considered a surefire victory for the Republican Party.
The senator reportedly attended an all-white high school and has previously celebrated the Confederacy, donning pieces to a Confederate soldier’s uniform in photos uploaded to Facebook that subsequently went viral.
Google’s request follows similar demands from Major League Baseball and Walmart, which confirmed it was “withdrawing our support and requesting a refund of all campaign donations.”
Mike Espy, Mississippi’s secretary of agriculture and the Democratic opponent challenging Ms Hyde-Smith, has described the withdrawals of support from major companies for the Republican incumbent as a sign that she “can’t be trusted to work with the businesses.”
“Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comments have embarrassed Mississippi,” Mr Espy’s campaign communications director Danny Blanton said in a statement, “and shown why she can’t be trusted to work with the businesses Mississippi needs to grow good paying jobs”.
He added, ”We’re confident that voters will follow Walmart’s lead and dump Cindy Hyde-Smith before she has the power to do real damage to our economy.“
The latest polls show Mr Espy trailing behind Ms Hyde-Smith, who has served as Mississippi’s senator since April.
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