Mississippi Truck Driver Who Didn’t Vote Because He Was Out Of Town Wins Democratic Primary

Paul Conner Executive Editor
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The truck driver who won Mississippi’s Democratic primary Tuesday with more than 146,000 votes admitted that he didn’t vote in the election because he “had to do a lot of stuff and just lost track of time.”

Robert Gray told Mississippi Public Broadcasting that he didn’t campaign much, and he didn’t report spending any money on his campaign.

“Actually, it wasn’t too much campaigning,” Gray told MPB. “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.”

He also said the 146,163 people who voted for him had not idea who he was.

“They didn’t know me from anybody else,” Gray told The Associated Press.

The Hattiesburg American reports that Gray is 46 years old, “regularly drives freight across the country” and that this is the first time he has run for public office. MS News Now reports that he is also a retired firefighter.

“I was in Jackson and had to do a lot of stuff and just lost track of time, to tell you the truth,” Gray told the AP when asked about whether he voted.

The two other Democratic primary candidates were attorney Vicki Slater and obstetrician-gynecologist Valerie Short. Slater pulled 86,715 votes, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, and Short took 53,819 votes. Officials called the race for Gray early Wednesday morning.

He will go on to face incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryan in the general election in November. Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara will also be on the ballot.

Details of Gray’s platform are thin, to say the least. He did tell the AP that he likes education spending.

“Funding education is good for business, good for the state of Mississippi,” Gray said. “That’s an easy way to get money circulating around the state.”

Gray’s candidacy has drawn comparisons to Alvin Greene, who famously won South Carolina’s Democratic primary for Senate in 2010 despite not having a website or much of a campaign. Greene went on to lose heavily to incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in the general election.

Gray does not appear to have a significant social media presence, and local reporters are still working on getting a photograph of the man.

MPB also reports that the house that Gray used on his election paperwork “appears to be abandoned.”