Gray campaign blames prosecutor for defeat
After conceding the race early Wednesday morning, Gray went further than he had before in blaming prosecutors for altering the outcome.
Gray compared his situation to the election in Virginia last fall to replace former governor Robert F. McDonnell, who had been under investigation for taking gifts in exchange for official actions. In that case, federal prosecutors at the direction of the Justice Department held back on indicting McDonnell and his wife until after the governor’s term had expired in January.
“You had a gubernatorial race, didn’t even involve the incumbent,” Gray said. “But that investigation stopped until that race was over. And I think it’s commonplace for these kinds of investigations to not have some kind of influence on the outcome of an election.”
Gray also blamed the early primary for his defeat: “When you have an election coming out of the winter, that was odd and it wasn’t just that our voters didn’t come out, voters didn’t come out.”
Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies went further than Gray, squarely blaming U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for altering the results of the election. “One thing changed this election: Ron Machen,” Thies said.
“The only thing that changed this election was the timing of Jeff Thompson’s plea deal, and that timing was decided by …the U.S. Attorney, and the U.S. Attorney should answer the question: Why then? That’s the question, was there imminent harm to people?” Thies said.