The mystery of the mysterious Elizabeth Gray is still a mystery. And may remain ever so.
Tuesday, in the Texas Republican Primary for President of the United States, Elizabeth Gray received 5,455 total votes. Of those, 2,482 were by absentee ballot and 2,973 cast on the voting day, March 1st.
Of the 14 choices on the ballot, Elizabeth finished 9th, ahead of Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Lindsey Graham and just a little behind Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.
There is some consolation that Ms. Gray was the top female GOP vote-getter in Texas.
She received the same number of Texas delegates to the Republican National Convention as Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush - 0.
According to the Williamson County GOP leader, Ms. Gray paid $5,000 to be on the ballot. So, in effect, she paid about 92 cents for each of the votes she received. Jeb Bush reportedly spent $130 million for the fewer than 95,000 votes he received in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina before dropping out. In Iowa, he (or his SuperPACs) spent nearly $3,000 per vote! It seems to me, Elizabeth Gray was a much more efficient campaigner than the now-defunct dynasty of Bushes.
Except Elizabeth Gray did not campaign. No fundraisers, no rallies, no kissing babies, no talk show or TV interviews. Not even a website. After she paid the filing fee, she seemed to disappear down the Brazos River.
When I noticed the name Elizabeth Gray on my ballot, I was curious who she is. I still keep up with American politics - I figure it's good to know who is giving the orders for drone strikes on civilians around the world - but had never heard of her.
I queried newspaper and TV editors, the librarian in Taylor, Texas, where Ms. Gray allegedly lives, the county party chairman, even a real estate office that had once sold the house she lists as her official address. Not a one knew anything about her - and they asked around town themselves.
Finally, an Austin cable station sent a reporter to her address. But Elizabeth never appeared. A voice from inside the house rebuffed the inquiry, saying they had the wrong house, and later the reporter received an email - allegedly from Ms. Gray (it could have been bogus; how would they know) - saying she was no longer interested in being President. http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2016/02/23/73-year-old-texas-woman-suspends-campaign-for-president-of-the-united-states.html
Echoes of another Texan, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who in the wave of anti-war protests led by Eugene McCarthy, declared, ""I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected." Gene McCarthy was my coming of age in political awareness. As the holder of No. 8 in the revived draft lottery in 1969, I had a vested personal interest in being against the Vietnam War, as well as an aversion to questionable wars period.
In one respect, I succeeded in one of my goals: someone in the media did generate a story on Elizabeth Gray. I'd also like to think that a few of the votes cast for her were related to my blog as well, which had more than 1,800 page views (http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.ch/2016/02/in-search-of-elizabeth-gray-candidate.html).
But I failed in my original quest to find out anything about her, other than second-hand information that she is 73, retired, and may have moved to Texas recently from Georgia.
Lizzie, if I may call her that (I feel I have come to have a personal enough relationship with her to use nicknames) received 2,404 of her votes from Williamson County, the area around Taylor, where she even trounced native Texan Jeb (869 votes). Which suggests that the people who know something about her liked her. What might have been if there had been an actual campaign and voters throughout Texas got to know and love Elizabeth Gray?
In Collin County, north of Dallas, she received one vote, and it was by absentee ballot. That would be mine.
Maybe someday I'll learn a little something about Elizabeth Gray. Perhaps she'll respond to the snail mail letter I sent to her - it was my only option: could not find an email address nor phone number for her.
I really want to know the answer to one question: what motivated her to spend $5,000 to place her name on the ballot as a candidate for President?
Okay, a second question - if she did get nominated and elected, what's the first thing she would do when in office? (I'd suggest a pardon of Edward Snowden.)