An unknown, Jackson man who spent no money on his primary campaign will be Mississippi's Democratic Candidate for Governor in November. 46-year-old Robert Gray received more than 50,000 votes than the party-backed, front-runner Vicki Slater.
It's safe to say Robert Gray is a political unknown for a vast majority of Mississippians, but during yesterday's Democratic Primary for Governor, the Jackson-based truck driver received more than 140,000 votes. The news took many people around the state by surprise, most notably the candidate himself, who was out of town and wasn't able to vote.
Gray says he believes people picked him at random.
"Actually, it wasn't too much campaigning," Gray says. "It was a couple of events, but even though my opponents did a lot of hard campaigning they only reached a few people. You know, it was just people showing up, voting and, I guess random, voting."
Despite the fact that Gray received 50,000 more votes than his closest opponent, officials we're reluctant to call the race until the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The hesitation has allowed some to hold out hope that party-backed, favorite Vicki Slater may still have a shot at the candidacy. Speaking at an event last night, Slater told supporters that in the event of a runoff she'll continue with the same message.
"We want our schools fully funded, we want Medicaid expansion and we want jobs in this state," Slater told supporters. "So, if it goes to a runoff, we're going to keep fighting and we're going to keep working together and we're never going to give up on the state that we love."
Gray will now have to face incumbent Republican Governor Phil Bryant in November's General Election.