If I say the name Robert Gray to a group of your friends, aside from the puzzled look on most of their faces I doubt that I’d get much reaction. The 46 year old Gray is from Jackson, Mississippi and were I to throw his name out in his hometown, the number who could tell me who he is would only be slightly higher. Robert Gray is an outward sign of the problem with liberals in Mississippi, and America itself today.
Robert drives a truck for a living and his CB handle is “Silent Knight”. The handle comes from the fact that he says he’s anything but chatty. The Governor of his home state is Republican Phil Bryant, who has been in office since 2012 and is seeking to stay in that office in this fall’s election in the Republican-dominated state. Gray, a Democrat, says he doesn’t know anybody in politics at all and adds that until a few days ago he had never visited the state capitol. He was even too busy to vote in the recent primary election to choose a Dem nominee for governor in his own home state.
Having said all that, I was a bit puzzled when my Father-in-law, Bob Jessup, a conservative and retired Air Force officer who now makes rural Mississippi his home, called me early in the morning this past week uttering the name “Robert Gray” and asking if I’d heard of him. As I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and scratched my head, I explained that I don’t drive trucks and don’t generally hang in Jackson, Mississippi. “Should I know him?” I asked. He then shared this remarkable story with me.
You see, Robert Gray was about as far removed from politics (voting OR serving) as anyone could be and had just done something extraordinary. He won. In November, Gray will be on the ballot in Mississippi opposing incumbent Gov. Bryant as the Democrat Party’s nominee for Governor of that state!
A retired political scientist on Facebook in Mississippi questioned how someone who made few public appearances could carry most counties and win a three-person primary without a runoff: “Something ain’t right about all this” he stated.
The Dems had been banking on Vicki Slater, a trial lawyer, and Dr. Valerie Adream Smartt Short, an obstetrician-gynecologist to carry the Democrat banner as liberals, and women for the Southern state. Then along came Robert Gray who had only appeared briefly at two rallies and got petitions signed as he drove his truck across the state. Gray’s been behind that big wheel since the early 1990s and chose to run because he says Governor Bryant is failing to deal with poverty in his state. Gray says he’s never worked on legislation, but he “listens to a lot of public radio”.
Considering political outsider Donald Trump’s meteoric rise to the top of the polls in the national GOP race for President in 2016, maybe Gray is Trump’s flip side at the state level. Or maybe Gray is a symbol of the ailment afflicting most liberals in America; no grasp of reality or desire to really “get it” when it comes to governing. Either way it’ll be interesting to see “Governor” Gray’s interaction with “President” Trump. I’ll catch it on Pay-Per-View, thank you!
Mike Scinto is a 38 year veteran talk show host serving locally, statewide and nationally behind the microphone. For the past dozen years he has authored this award-winning column. “Friend” Mike at www.facebook.com/mikescintoshow or visit www.mikescintocolumns.blogspot.com