This Mississippi candidate’s few thousand votes forced a Senate runoff that will cost GOP donors millions

The National Journal profiles little known Thomas Carey, the man who extended the bitter US Senate race in MS to a run-off in three weeks’ time.

It looks as though 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 looks set to extend another three weeks, after they both got close to 49 percent on Tuesday.

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.

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