John McCain had the Straight Talk Express. Scott Brown had his pickup. Donald Trump has his helicopter – and plane. Some candidates are as well known for how they get around as the races they have run. But trucker Robert Gray and his light-blue big rig may be the most unconventional yet. Gray, whose soft-spoken approach earned him the CB handle “Silent Knight,” shocked Mississippi’s political establishment by winning the Democratic primary for governor this summer, beating two candidates with better funding and political organizations. Experts have offered varying theories as to what happened, from vote meddling to the country’s growing anti-establishment mood, to the possibility that voters simply ticked off the first name they saw on the ballot. … Vicki Slater, a longtime trial lawyer, was expected to win the Democratic nomination with relative ease. According to Slater, she and her staff of six did direct mail, made live and automated calls to voters, earned newspaper endorsements, visited 50 counties, and got the backing of local democratic groups. Even the state party chair, Rickey Cole, was at her announcement. In all, the campaign estimates they spent about $300,000. Robert Gray figures he spent about $50 on gas to go to a handful of events. He won 79 of 82 counties.
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.
A Mississippi truck driver who claims to have spent no money on his campaign won a nomination to be governor early Wednesday morning. Robert Gray, 46, reported spending zero dollars on his campaign to become the Democratic party’s nominee for governor, and defeated two rivals with 51% of the vote. He told the Associated Press that he did not vote on Tuesday “because he was busy”. In contrast, trial attorney Vicki Slater, reported spending $68,000 in the last month alone, and almost $200,000 this calendar year. Gray won with 146,333 votes, meaning Slater lost by almost 60,000 votes.