Home » Corpus Christi » Currently Reading:

Corpus Christi’s Ray Madrigal makes a run at Texas governor

January 25, 2014 Corpus Christi No Comments

Madrigal hugs Majic 104.9 DJ Sylvia Dancer on Wednesday as she wishes him luck on his campaign before Madrigal goes on the air. Madrigal’s past includes runs for mayor of Corpus Christi.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Madrigal hugs Majic 104.9 DJ Sylvia Dancer on Wednesday as she wishes him luck on his campaign before Madrigal goes on the air. Madrigal’s past includes runs for mayor of Corpus Christi.


Michael Zamora/Caller-TimesRay Madrigal (center) shakes hands with station manager Carlos Lopez on Wednesday during Vicente Carranza’s radio show at the Majic 104.9 station. Madrigal stopped by to talk with station founder Humberto Lopez. Madrigal is trying to win the Democratic nomination for governor but he faces tough odds against front-runner Wendy Davis who made national headlines for her stance against Texas’ abortion law.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times
Ray Madrigal (center) shakes hands with station manager Carlos Lopez on Wednesday during Vicente Carranza’s radio show at the Majic 104.9 station. Madrigal stopped by to talk with station founder Humberto Lopez. Madrigal is trying to win the Democratic nomination for governor but he faces tough odds against front-runner Wendy Davis who made national headlines for her stance against Texas’ abortion law.


Michael Zamora/Caller-TimesRay Madrigal makes his way into the radio booth Wednesday as he gets ready to go on the Vicente Carranza show at the Majic 104.9 radio station. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times
Ray Madrigal makes his way into the radio booth Wednesday as he gets ready to go on the Vicente Carranza show at the Majic 104.9 radio station. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.


Michael Zamora/Caller-TimesRay Madrigal (right) talks with La Isla 93.5 DJ Frank Latino on Wednesday before Madrigal goes on Vicente Carranza’s radio show on Majic 104.9. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times
Ray Madrigal (right) talks with La Isla 93.5 DJ Frank Latino on Wednesday before Madrigal goes on Vicente Carranza’s radio show on Majic 104.9. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.


Michael Zamora/Caller-TimesRay Madrigal (left) gets a fist bump from DJ Sylvia Dancer on Wednesday as she wishes him luck on his campaign before Madrigal goes on the air at the Majic 104.9 radio station. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times
Ray Madrigal (left) gets a fist bump from DJ Sylvia Dancer on Wednesday as she wishes him luck on his campaign before Madrigal goes on the air at the Majic 104.9 radio station. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.


Michael Zamora/Caller-TimesRay Madrigal talks about radio founder Humberto Lopez on Wednesday during Vicente Carranza’s radio show at the Majic 104.9 station. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times
Ray Madrigal talks about radio founder Humberto Lopez on Wednesday during Vicente Carranza’s radio show at the Majic 104.9 station. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state: governor.


Michael Zamora/Caller-TimesRay Madrigal makes his way into the radio booth Wednesday as he gets ready to go on the Vicente Carranza show at Majic 104.9. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times
Ray Madrigal makes his way into the radio booth Wednesday as he gets ready to go on the Vicente Carranza show at Majic 104.9. Madrigal has run for several local offices unsuccessfully and now he has his eyes set on the highest office in the state.


Madrigal talks about station founder Humberto Lopez on Wednesday during Carranza’s show. Madrigal says a lack of representation from Hispanics spurs him to continue seeking elected office.

Photo by Michael Zamora

Madrigal talks about station founder Humberto Lopez on Wednesday during Carranza’s show. Madrigal says a lack of representation from Hispanics spurs him to continue seeking elected office.


AUSTIN — Reynaldo “Ray” Madrigal couldn’t remember just how many times he had run for office. The judge of the Seadrift Municipal Court in Calhoun County has run for mayor of Corpus Christi, state representative, justice of the peace and Texas land commissioner.

Madrigal, 71, hasn’t won any election, yet. His current title for the 1,400 population town of Seadrift, about 60 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, comes from an appointment.

Nevertheless, the former professional photographer and Army veteran is aiming for a new office, and it’s the highest in the state: governor. His primary opponent on the Democratic ticket is state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

A lack of representation in the Hispanic community is part of what drives him to run, Madrigal said. “We’re a very huge number of Hispanics in Texas. … If we’re good enough to be voters, we’re good enough to be candidates.”

Davis is tremendously popular among Texas Democrats. Her stardom came after she filibustered in the state Senate against a controversial abortion law. Madrigal finished third in Corpus Christi’s four-person mayoral race in 2012 with about 6 percent of the vote. In his bid for land commissioner in the 2002 Democratic primaries, Madrigal lost in a race against David Bernsen 38 percent to 62 percent, with 303,000 votes. He said he didn’t win his first race, a justice of the peace spot in the early 1970s.

Through it all, Madrigal said he doesn’t tire.

“I never get discouraged,” Madrigal said. “It encourages me. I learn something new, to take a step forward instead of a step backward.”

Madrigal said a sense of patriotism and civil rights spurs him. Having served in the Army, he said he fought against communism.

Madrigal said he understood Democrats wanting to win a statewide office election because they haven’t in 20 years, but he said no Hispanic has been the governor in 177 years.

Hearkening back to his justice of the peace race, Madrigal said that at first he approached the Democratic Party and it turned him down. He thought as a veteran he would find support but, “the people were not very receptive to the idea of a Hispanic running for public office.”

So he joined the Raza Unida party and received more than 5 percent of the vote, he said, which “scared the pants off the Democratic Party.”

As to why he has never won an election, Madrigal said the most difficult aspect of politics is raising money.

“Financing has always been critical,” Madrigal said. “I always hate asking for money.”

Even so, he said, “money is not the answer to everything. I might not have a million or even $1,000, but there are a lot of people who believe there needs to be a change.”

Davis reported raising $12.2 million in her campaign. Madrigal reported no contributions in his report filed Tuesday, seven days late.

He said as governor he would be able to “communicate with the other side of the border” in trading with Mexico, and he would work against the current voter ID laws that require photo documentation.

He said he is “not running against Wendy Davis. I’m running for governor of the state of Texas,” but did say he “sees a little bit of Republican in Wendy Davis,” because of Davis’ work ties to Gov. Rick Perry.

Brian Newby and Davis are partners of the Newby Davis law firm, and Newby had served as Perry’s general counsel and chief of staff, according to the firm’s website.

Madrigal, meanwhile, said he is entering the race as a “pro-life” Democrat.

“He is a people’s person,” Ray Yrlas said. “He has friends all over the state and all over Corpus Christi.”

Yrlas, a civil service retiree, said he met Madrigal 45 years ago.

He applauded Madrigal on community activism, such as his campaigning against demolishing the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi.

Joe Adame, former Corpus Christi mayor against whom Madrigal ran twice, said his former opponent’s run for governor doesn’t surprise him, but it still rubs him wrong.

“It amazes me how some people have thoughts of getting elected to certain positions when it’s clear they don’t have a chance,” Adame said. “It’s almost like being disrespectful to the position.”

Even amid tough odds, Madrigal ruminated about the prospect of victory.

“Can you imagine Ray Madrigal in the governor’s mansion? I guess it would be like Obama in the White House,” he said. “Nobody thought it would happen. But it happened.”

Comment on this Article:


Search Articles



We Need Your Help

Please consider donating to help maintain this site by contributing to the server costs