MISSISSIPPI
     Nov. 3, 2015 Governor

Gov.
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+Phil Bryant (R) i
476,697
66.38%
Robert Gray (D)
231,643
32.25%
Shawn O'Hara
9,845
1.37%

718,185
Plurality: 245,054 votes (34.13 percentage points).
 MS Secretary of State



Notes: Gov. Phil Bryant was a strong favorite to win a second term.  A Feb. 19, 2015 press release from the Bryant campaign made the case for his re-election:

"Through the Governor’s leadership, guided by conservative principles, Mississippi has balanced budgets, filled the Rainy Day savings fund, and become one of the ten best states in America for economic development. We’ve also passed a $100 million teacher pay raise and increased accountability to parents in our school system."

In the Aug. 4 primary, Bryant won 91.9% of the vote, defeating Mitch Young. 

T
he Democratic primary produced a startling result.  Robert Gray, a virtually unknown long haul trucker from Terry, defeated attorney Vicki Slater and retired physician Valerie Short.  Apart from filing and attending some rallies, Gray did not actively campaign.  In a later interview, he attributed his primary win to people's "natural instinct to pick the one that's different from the others."  (His opponents were two women with somewhat similar sounding names).

As a result of his surprising primary win, Gray benefited from a lot of free media. 
He made that the argument that Republican policies of lower taxes and limiting government were hurting people.  However, he did not make much headway with retail campaigning; he found that people were disinterested in the campaign. "Most people don't care.  You know they complain, but they don't care," Gray observed later. 

According to the National Institute on Money in Politics, the Bryant campaign raised $4,950,652 compared to $9,868 for the Gray campaign.
 

Campaign Managers:
Phil Bryant:  Shad White
(Aug. 2014)  Deputy campaign manager on Phil Bryant for Governor, Apr.-Aug. 2011.  Director of policy in the Office of the Lt. Governor, Dec. 2010-Apr. 2011.  Policy/research director on Nunnelee for Congress, July-Nov. 2010.  State policy fellow with The Pew Charitable Trusts, July 2008-Aug. 2009.  J.D. from Harvard Law School, 2014;  M.Sc. in economic and social history from University of Oxford, 2011; B.A. in economics, political science from University of Mississippi, 2008.

Robert Gray:  no campaign manager



See also:
R.L. Nave.  "Keep on Truckin: Meet Robert Gray."  Jackson Free Press, Aug. 12, 2015.

Campbell Robertson.  "Chosen by Mississippi Democrats, Shy Trucker Is at a Crossroad."  New York Times, Sept. 7, 2015.

 

















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