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Why a trucker’s campaign for governor is worth watching

Why a trucker’s campaign for governor is worth watching

Robert Gray

While next year’s presidential election is already triggering fault codes on political dashboards, this Tuesday is a really big day at the polls for truckers—well, for one trucker, at least. Owner-operator Robert Gray, whose handle is "Silent Knight," got tired of hearing people gripe, so he threw his trucker cap in the ring and entered the Mississippi Democratic Party’s gubernatorial primary last summer. And, with virtually no campaign to speak of, he easily defeated a couple of more, um, traditional candidates.

News accounts say that Gray’s mom didn’t even realize that was her son on the ballot—but she voted for “Robert Gray” anyway because, of course, she liked the name. And that’s one vote more than he cast for himself.

The nonexistent Gray for Governor campaign suddenly received millions of dollars in free publicity as national media, naturally, had a chuckle at the novelty act.

“Democratic Party officials were stunned. The news media was stunned. Mr. Gray, now Mississippi’s Democratic nominee for governor, gave some interviews and then set off with a truck full of sweet potatoes for a potato chip factory in Pennsylvania,” the New York Times wrote.

“People complain about our governor,” Gray said. “I’m basically going to do the opposite of what he’s doing.”

And that’s been his campaign strategy.


But those sweet potatoes should’ve been Cinderella’s pumpkins because, as much as many readers of this blog would get a real kick out of seeing a trucker become governor, this fairy tale will end Tuesday night.

The Gray campaign had raised just over $3,000 through September, but he does now have a Facebook page. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has spent nearly $3 million this year, according to reports.

But if Gray is so completely outmatched by the incumbent, and voters still can’t work up much enthusiasm for Bryant, maybe we’re in for a real shocker. But an 18-wheeler parked in the driveway at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion won’t be nearly as stunning as what such a flat rejection of politics-as-usual might mean one year from now.

And not to worry: If Gray does win, we promise to let you know.

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