Chosen by Mississippi Democrats, Shy Trucker Is at a Crossroad

The victory of Mr. Gray — like the bizarre primary wins of Alvin Greene, South Carolina’s 2010 Democratic nominee for the Senate, and Charlie Brown, the 2014 Democratic candidate for governor in Tennessee — illustrates to some degree the forlorn state of affairs for Democrats in the South.

The party that was once the alpha and omega of Southern politics is now having to explain that its headline candidate in Mississippi was elected on the following grounds: “He was the first name on the ballot, and he was a man,” said Jacqueline Amos, the executive field director for the state Democratic Party.

Both of Mr. Gray’s primary opponents were women. Mr. Gray is Mississippi’s second black Democratic nominee for governor in a row. None of the candidates were expected to beat the incumbent, Phil Bryant, a Republican.

For Mississippi Democrats, who have to pick their battles, the focus this year has been on regaining control of the state’s House of Representatives. A curiosity candidate who kept a low profile would not complicate that, but to the exasperation of some party officials, Mr. Gray has been granting interviews to most any news outlet that tracks him down, from MSNBC to RoadKing, a magazine for professional truckers.

New York Times