GOP Spoiler Candidate: Run-off Will Be Good for Mississippi

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 06:43 PM

By Cathy Burke and Todd Beamon

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He has no election track record, didn't raise a dime, and produced no TV ads, but retiree Thomas Carey is going to cost GOP donors millions to fund a prolonged primary battle he helped trigger between Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party-backed challenger Chris McDaniel.

Carey, 67, a retired Southwestern Bell worker turned realtor who works with his son in a prison ministry program, says he probably won't vote for either man, the National Journal reports.

In a primary day interview, Carey told the Journal he ran a faith-based campaign to oust a pair of career politicians who, he charges, haven't a clue how the "average Mississippian" lives.

"I believe the Lord called me to do this," he told the Journal. "Not literally, but he woke me up a lot of times in the middle of the night."

"The average Mississippian couldn't even fill up a tank of gas for McDaniel's campaign bus. How can they relate to an average Mississippian who is barely making it paycheck to paycheck?"

He made a similar appeal to voters before the vote.

"If you're tired of all the bickering, back-biting, and general scandals, then I would appreciate your vote," he asked in an email obtained by Newsmax. "I'll tell you, and any voter, that I'm a born-again Christian, and I make no apologies for that. It's time to send someone to Washington that will fight for God, Country, and family issues.

"I think the general consensus throughout this wonderful country of ours is that people are fed up with career politicians."

According to Associated Press results, Carey won 4,789 votes — 1.5 percent – in the Tuesday GOP primary contest.

It was just enough shaved off the top that neither Cochran nor McDaniel could capture the 50 percent vote threshold they needed to be the winner of the scandal-wracked, mud-slinging contest. McDaniel finished with 49.5 percent, Cochran with 49 percent, according to the results.

"I didn't expect the state of Mississippi to be so polarized," he told Newsmax. "I ran a race not to have a tie … that wasn't my intention."

"He may be the most hated man in Mississippi right now, and most people don't even know who he is," Clarion-Ledger columnist Sam Hall wrote Wednesday.

"They only know that because of him, we will be subjected to three more weeks of Cochran and McDaniel attack ads. … he seemed sincere in wanting to be a part of the process and try to change some things. And now, his name will go down in Mississippi political history as one of the rather more important footnotes."

The battle that's already cost $12 million now goes into overtime for another three weeks,  but Carey says that might not be so bad after all. "I'm not really in favor of a runoff, but if it brings millions of dollars into the state, that's good for Mississippi," Carey said.

"If groups spend money on TV stations and ads that generate revenue for those stations and the surrounding areas.… Who knows, maybe the money will help them hire another person or two."

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