Meet the Mississippi Man Who Just Cost Republican Donors Millions

Thomas Carey got only a few thousand votes in the Mississippi’s GOP’s Senate primary. But that was enough to force the top two candidates into an expensive three-week runoff.

Third-place Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Thomas Carey
National Journal
Andrea Drusch
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Andrea Drusch
June 4, 2014, 1 a.m.

Mis­sis­sip­pi­ans will have to keep watch­ing Sen­ate TV ads for the next three weeks, and the man who made it hap­pen is not con­cerned.

Former Re­altor Thomas Carey, an af­ter­thought in a heav­ily scru­tin­ized Re­pub­lic­an primary between Sen. Thad Co­chran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel, won just a few thou­sand votes Tues­day night. But he siphoned off just enough sup­port — about 1.6 per­cent — to keep either of the closely matched front-run­ners from reach­ing 50 per­cent, the threshold to win the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion. Now, the $12 mil­lion con­test between Co­chran and McDaniel is set to ex­tend an­oth­er three weeks, after they both got close to 49 per­cent on Tues­day. A run­off between Co­chran and McDaniel will be held June 24.

A long­time tele­phone in­staller, Carey worked for South­west­ern Bell for 35 years be­fore chan­ging ca­reers to work in real es­tate in 2001. He re­tired sev­er­al years ago to join the Kairos Pris­on Min­istry with his son. They plan overnight trips to the Mis­sis­sippi State Pen­it­en­tiary to min­is­ter to in­mates.

Carey has nev­er run for of­fice be­fore, didn’t run a single tele­vi­sion ad, and didn’t raise any money, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion. But his cam­paign is go­ing to cost Re­pub­lic­an donors mil­lions of dol­lars in June as they fund a primary that Carey pro­longed.

In a primary-day in­ter­view, Carey ex­pressed no pref­er­ence between McDaniel and Co­chran and said he didn’t plan to vote for either of them in a run­off — if he didn’t win out­right him­self. Carey said he ran a faith-based cam­paign to re­tire two ca­reer politi­cians who he says are out of touch with people in the state.

“I be­lieve the Lord called me to do this,” he said. “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,” Carey con­tin­ued. “How can they re­late to an av­er­age Mis­sis­sip­pi­an who is barely mak­ing it paycheck to paycheck?”

After a primary that fea­tured dis­agree­ments over bring­ing home money to Mis­sis­sippi, Carey cast the ex­ten­ded cam­paign as something like a privately fun­ded stim­u­lus pack­age for the state.

“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.”

What We're Following See More »
Spicer Excludes NYT, CNN, BuzzFeed from Press Gaggle
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SANS PROOF
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
10 hours ago
UPDATE
EXECUTIVE ORDER
Trump: Agencies Should Recommend Regulations to Repeal
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS
NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING SOON
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
12 hours ago
UPDATE
“WE’RE CHANGING IT”
Trump Rails On Obamacare
13 hours ago
UPDATE

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login