Conservative Republican Ray McKinney, candidate in Georgia’s 12th congressional district, has been garnering praise and endorsements from tea party leaders and political action committees locally and nationwide. McKinney is running for the seat currently held by liberal incumbent Democrat John Barrow of Savannah.
McKinney received national attention last month by releasing a concise plan for resolving the gulf coast BP oil spill, earning the endorsements of two tea party-related organizations, Liberty First PAC and and One Nation PAC. Liberty First founder Eric Odom, a national tea party leader, has given his personal endorsement.
Most recently, Ray locked in an official endorsement from Tony Powers of the Augusta Tax Day Tea Party. While many tea party organizations in Georgia do not endorse candidates, local tea party activists behind Ray include Ken Baxley of Effingham County, Ann Lindholm of Chatham County, and Cheri Wagner among others.
“I guess you could say I was tea party before there really was a tea party,” said McKinney. “In the fall of 2008, I donated and worked with groups that organized on the internet to protest the bailouts and the Democrats’ refusal to pass energy legislation.“
In April 2009, McKinney was keynote speaker at the first ever Effingham County Tea Party and also that year was a featured guest at a private gathering of leaders among the free-market advocacy movement.
“I appreciate the civic involvement of tea party activists around the country,” said McKinney. “Even in the face of negative press coverage in the mainstream media, their energetic commitment to fiscal conservatism is an inspiration to all who care about the future of this country.”
McKinney recently won a debate hosted by the Vidalia Tea Party Patriots, where, in his closing remarks he said, “On July 20th, you’re going to pick one of us to take on John Barrow … and hopefully in November you’ll pick one of us to take on Nancy Pelosi.”
The Georgia primary takes place July 20th.