Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has faced weeks of criticism over comments about making voting "just a little more difficult" for students at some of the state's universities.
(Hyde-Smith's campaign said in a statement she was "making a joke" and that the video was "selectively edited.")
The Republican also joked about going "front row" to a "public hanging" in a video posted to Twitter earlier this month, prompting her African-American opponent to call her comment "reprehensible."
In the video, Hyde-Smith appeared to be speaking during a campaign event about the support of a Mississippi rancher.
The senator issued a statement after the video posted, saying:
"In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous."
Several companies that donated to Hyde-Smith's campaign, including Walmart, have publicly withdrawn their support for the senator over the "public hanging" comment.
In her debate with Espy, Hyde-Smith said she would "certainly apologize" to anyone who was offended by her remark about attending a "public hanging." But she quickly pivoted into attack mode.
"I also recognize that this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me," she said.