Republican lawmaker defends racist Mississippi senator: Public hangings ‘would deter a lot of crimes’
Mississippi State Senator Charles Younger Image: Mississippi State Senate

A Republican state senator in Mississippi on Monday stepped up to support embattled U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is running to keep her appointed seat in a special election runoff Tuesday.

Calling public hangings a "style" of execution, Senator Charles Younger told voters that, "frankly, if it was back again I think it would deter a lot of crimes," Mississippi Today reports.

Studies show there is no evidence the death penalty is an effective deterrent for capital crimes.

"It wasn’t 'lynching,'" Younger told Hyde-Smith's supporters at a rally, pushing back against charges the Mississippi Republican Senator is racist, "it was a public hanging where it had to pass through the courts and it wasn’t a color or a race issue. It was just a means of punishment."

Younger then tried to turn the table against Democrats. He admitted Hyde-Smith "said something out of jest that wasn’t the most politically correct thing to say but, you know, I bet you nine out of 10 Democrats would vote to execute the young man that killed the nine black people in the church in South Carolina — the African Americans that were killed in South Carolina," Younger told Mississippi Today. "I bet you nine out of 10 Democrats would vote to have him executed any kind of way."

Execution isn't the issue.

Hyde-Smith had lavished praise on a colleague, by saying – in the second-most most racist state in the nation – that she would gladly attend a "public hanging" with that colleague.