Gene Kelly: The Democratic Party's Version of Herpes

No, not THAT ONE!

The nuisance who just won't go away, Gene Kelly, is back for another run at U.S. Senate. He's thrown his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination, pitting him against Houston's Rick Noriega and Corpus Christi's Ray McMurrey. The winner will challenge incumbent Republican John Cornyn.

If you're new to Texas politics, we're not talking about the dancer. This Gene Kelly is an annoying thorn in the side of the Democratic Party for years. He enters his recognizable names in elections, and then never actually campaigns or makes himself seen in any way. As near as anyone can figure, he's just a narcissist in bad need of a hobby who gets a thrill seeing his name on the ballot.

Sadly, there are enough idiots voting in the Democratic primary who will then go into the booth and vote for him, we presume because they're either stupid or think it's funny, never mind the real-world political consequences. In 2006, enough people did so in the U.S. Senate race that it forced a serious candidate, Barbara Radnofsky, into a runoff, wasting precious time and campaign money she could have been using to focus on her challenge to Kay Bailey Hutchison. (Of course, one could make the argument that Radnofsky's campaign never had a chance against an incumbent with 60% approval ratings, but still …)

McMurrey is far more charitable than I. In a statement, he welcomed Kelly into the race, saying “Democracy demands that we have more than one choice in who will represent us. … Democrats are about inclusion, not exclusion. We are about expanding democracy, not limiting it."

As the outsider candidate, McMurrey may end up regretting those words. I'm keeping an open mind about the virtues of both McMurrey and Noriega, but my gut feeling is that the entrance of Kelly signals a third-place finish for McMurrey, a candidate who was already going to have to struggle against Noriega's name ID. Now he'll be pitted against the candidate with the biggest name ID of all, and the Dems will likely be forced into another embarrassing runoff needed to eliminate a joke candidate.

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Election 2008, Gene Kelly, Rick Noriega, Ray McMurrey, John Cornyn

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