Mississippi Democrats are bracing for a bloodbath next Tuesday when the party is poised to record its worst showing in a gubernatorial election there since Reconstruction with truck driver and first-time office seeker Robert Gray as its nominee. Gray shockingly won the Democratic primary this summer without spending any money (or voting in the race) and does not even maintain a campaign website. The low water mark for Democrats since the party returned to the gubernatorial ballot in the mid-1870s is 39 percent – set four years ago in 2011 by an established politician, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. Support for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Mississippi has dropped each cycle since Ronnie Musgrove’s narrow 1999 win over Congressman Mike Parker and the party hasn’t eclipsed the 50 percent mark since Ray Mabus in 1987.

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