TUNICA, Miss. — Drive south from Memphis toward the cradle of American blues, and you come upon a landscape of dusty cotton fields and small towns dotted with yard sales and loan stores.
Just off the legendary Highway 61, where crop-dusters perform acrobatics above billboards for Mississippi Delta casinos, is the place where Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe pledged to build a $60 million factory for his electric-car company. On a recent summer day, a bird was skittering over patches of weedy gravel at the vacant site of what is supposed to be GreenTech Automotive’s future plant.
In Horn Lake, Miss., GreenTech runs a temporary assembly plant in an old elevator factory. There, fewer than 100 workers are producing no more than one car every two or three days, according to current and former company employees.
What is happening in these spots in rural Mississippi has become an issue in the Virginia governor’s race.