BY: Geoff Pender
Terry truck driver and first-time candidate Robert Gray, who goes by “Silent Knight” as his CB handle, carried 79 of 82 counties in the Democratic primary in unofficial results. He pulled a convoy of more than 147,000 votes, or 51 percent, to presumed frontrunner Vicki Slater’s 30 percent in a three-way race.
Democrats held their own in terms of turnout, which was fairly low for both parties. But Gray’s nomination doesn’t indicate a high level of Democratic voter engagement and enthusiasm headed into November. It appears they just checked the first name they saw on the ballot.
Slater wasn’t expected to topple incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in November. But the firebrand attorney was expected to make it a race – generate some enthusiasm, help get out the vote and raise some state and national campaign money for herself and those down-ticket.
Now, well – Democratic Party leaders apparently got to meet with their gubernatorial nominee last week. But I don’t know how much of a campaign strategy they were able to come up with. Gray had to leave late-week to run a load of sweet potatoes up to Pennsylvania.
My guess is Democratic leaders are trying to figure out how to get Gray to withdraw. But he said he won’t, and Republican lawyers are researching ways to challenge such a move. Otherwise, they’ll have to try to turn lemons into lemonade. Look for a Robert Gray: the working man’s friend campaign. Breaker-one-nine for the Silent Knight.