Mississippi trucker who lost bid for governor says he gave it his best shot

By Land Line staff | Thursday, November 05, 2015

Long-haul trucker Robert Gray’s long-shot bid to upset incumbent Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) ended in defeat on Tuesday, but he said he feels good about his campaign and gave it his best.

“I did what I could do with what I had,” he said in a phone interview with “Land Line Now” on Thursday. “Hopefully (Phil Bryant) wants to take care of our state like he takes care of his campaign.”

Gray, an owner-operator from Jackson, finished with 227,400 votes in the election, or 32 percent, compared with Bryant’s 472,197, or 67 percent. He came out of nowhere in August to handily win the Democratic primary election for the Magnolia State’s top executive, despite not campaigning or having any previous elected experience.

He famously didn’t even vote in the primary election, opting instead to work that day. He said he did make it to the polls on Tuesday.

“I didn’t have a problem with either one of my opponents in the primary,” he said, explaining his rationale for not voting in the primary. “I consider our state’s biggest problem was our governor, so I had to vote against him.”

Bryant spent $2.7 million on his campaign, while Gray, whose CB handle is “Silent Knight,” spent just over $3,000, according to the Jackson Free-Press.

Gray had criticized Bryant for refusing to expand Medicaid to help more than 100,000 of the state’s residents. He said although many saw his campaign as a long-shot, “I knew I could do the job.”

“I was 1,000 percent serious about it,” Gray said.

Now that the election is over, Gray said he plans to do some work on his 1993 Peterbilt tractor, which recently had a steer tire separate. He also said he plans to recuperate from the campaign trail, which involved “a lot of walking and shaking hands.”

“It puts some wear-and-tear on your joints,” he said. “A little bit more than you would think.”

“Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black contributed his interview to this report.

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