McMurrey Endorses Noriega for Senate

Despite key policy differences, defeated candidate will support victor against Cornyn

Ray McMurrey, the Corpus Christi schoolteacher who placed third in the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate, has endorsed winner Rick Noriega in the general election. Noriega, a state representative from Houston, will try to unseat incumbent Republican John Cornyn in November.

McMurrey was just one piece of a Democratic primary with multiple twists and turns. Originally, the contest was expected to be a battle between Noriega's legislative and military experience and the riches of San Antonio trial lawyer Mikal Watts. However, Watts withdrew in October, citing family concerns, seemingly clearing the field for Noriega.

But McMurrey decided Noriega's ties to the energy industry and other factors required a progressive alternative, so he entered the race a month later. It was assumed he'd have an uphill climb, and that became even steeper when San Antonians Gene Kelly and Rhett Smith crowded the field. Kelly habitually enters elections apparently just to see how many people will confuse him with the famous dead dancer and vote for him. This year, more than half a million (27%) obliged, pushing McMurrey's 268,742 votes (12%) back to third place. Noriega narrowly avoided a runoff by getting 51.01%.

In today's statement, McMurrey said he hoped the Democratic ticket would embrace single-payer health care, an Iraq withdrawal timetable, and public financing of election campaigns. "Without reservation, I will lead a get-out-the-vote movement in my area to elect Rick Noriega," he said, adding, "Mr. Cornyn epitomizes what is wrong with politics today."

Full statement after the jump:

McMurrey Statement on Primary Results
Expresses Thanks to Supporters; Endorses Noriega

CORPUS CHRISTI – Ray McMurrey issued the following statement regarding Tuesday’s primary results:

Based on the results of the March 4th primary election, my candidacy for the 2008 Democratic nomination for United States Senator has ended. I gave my time, talent and treasure to this race. My campaign was always about the issues and ideas that will improve the daily lives of Texas families. My platform resonated across Texas, and I appreciate the many supporters who believed in me and my message. It is my hope the Democratic ticket will embrace single-payer health care; a strict timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and public financing of campaigns.

I wish to thank the wonderful people of Texas for the gracious reception and hospitality given to me. It was one of life’s greatest experiences to travel this beautiful state, to hear Texans’ concerns and hopes and to run as a Democrat.

I endorse Rick Noriega for the United States Senate. During this primary, Rick has always been a gentleman and shown kindness to me and my family. I have the highest respect for his military service to this country and his legislative experience in the Texas House of Representatives. Without reservation, I will lead a get-out-the-vote movement in my area to elect Rick Noriega.

Although elections should not be about money, we know the reality: John Cornyn has raised millions of dollars in campaign money from corporate interests that pollute the political process and betray the public interest. Mr. Cornyn epitomizes what is wrong with politics today. He is the reason why working-class Texans struggle daily and lose faith in the political process.

Texans need to rally around Rick at this time and help him accumulate the funds needed to take on John Cornyn. I urge all Texans to do what they can to help Rick end the Cornyn legacy of abusing Constitutional liberties and rights to privacy, betraying children by denying health benefits to hard-working families and deceiving this nation about the Iraq War. We must – and we can – do better.

Let’s elect Rick Noriega in November! Start today by visiting his Web site,, and contributing now.

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Elections, Election 2008, Ray McMurrey, Rick Noriega, John Cornyn, Gene Kelly, Rhett Smith

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