There’s more than a little novelty to a political candidate who doesn’t spend a dime, doesn’t campaign, and doesn’t even vote for himself to win the gubernatorial nomination of a major party — as Terry truck driver and newly-minted Mississippi Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Robert Gray has discovered. Gray unexpectedly and rather easily dispatched the state Democratic Party establishment-backed candidate Vicki Slater and Dr. Valerie Short on the way to winning his party’s nomination without a runoff. After the brief “who is Robert Gray?” reaction came a torrent of political conspiracy theories as to why Gray emerged from political anonymity to win the Democratic nomination.
First came fingers pointed at the state’s GOP — on the political meme that Republicans didn’t want to see Slater as the Democratic opponent for incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. So for Republican voters “crossing over” to vote in the Democratic primary to help choose local officials in areas where Dems still hold sway in courthouse elections, there was a supposed plot to check the box for Gray to defeat Slater.
If that’s the case, the organizers of that supposed stealth effort to block Slater from the November ballot should be recruited to work for the CIA. Why? Because there is simply no discernible trail of evidence — sample ballots, social media messages, emails blasts, signage, flyers, nothing — leading to that conclusion. If the GOP implemented such a strategy, they did it with smoke signals or mental telepathy.
A more plausible explanation is the simpler one — the name “Gray” comes ahead of the names “Short” and “Slater” when arranged alphabetically. The first name on the ballot got the most votes.