Nate McMurray, the Democratic nominee for New York’s 27th Congressional District, is poised to have a great chance to win the general election in November. At the moment McMurray, a Democrat, has no competition for the seat in the deep red Western New York district following the suspension of incumbent Chris Collins’ (R) campaign after the congressman was indicted for insider trading this week.
While McMurray, 43, will no longer have to face off against the highly favored Collins, the GOP will undoubtedly insert a candidate to challenge McMurray in November. New York’s 27th Congressional District was carried by President Trump by a whopping 24 points in the 2016 election and Collins himself won his re-election by 34 points.
So, even with Collins stepping aside, McMurray’s road to congress still looks like a long shot, though a somewhat attainable long shot now.
Here’s what you need to know about Nate McMurray, the Town Supervisor of Grand Island who hopes to be the next representative of NY 27:
1. McMurray Called on Collins to Step Down & Not Long After Collins Suspended His Campaign
“I can’t believe, several days after this news, that my opponent is still in this race and that the Republican establishment is not saying in unison ‘resign,” McMurray said on Twitter. “Mr. Collins, please do the right thing. Step down. They knew this was coming You should’ve never even been endorsed.”
In the wake of Collins suspending his re-election campaign, McMurray told CNN: “I think he had a lot of pressure on him, and I like to think that some part of him knew it was the right thing to do.”
2. McMurray Believes “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege”
On McMurray’s campaign website, he voices his support for single-payer healthcare.
“Every other major industrialized nation has this type of system. The U.S. spends more on healthcare per person than these countries, but we are no more healthy, in fact, we spend more and end up with less.”
He supports the New York State Healthcare Bill and two other Medicare-for-All bills (H.R. 676/S.1804).
In June, McMurray said, “And it’s a simple concept. Because if you balance or leverage the power of all of us in the room, we get a better deal…And if we don’t fight for this now, we’re never going to get it.”
3. McMurray Supports the Legalization of Marijuana, Student Loan Reform, & the Right to a Living Wage
McMurray supports legislation that would eliminate marijuana from the Federal Controlled Substances Act. He wants to eliminate crimes of possession and allocate federal funds to helping change state laws on marijuana. He’s a supporter of ending the so-called War on Drugs.
While some Democrats believe in free college tuition, McMurray’s approach to handing the massive student loan debt of the country as a whole is not focused on providing free education — at least not immediately.
If elected, McMurray has promised to work towards solutions that would allow students to refinance their debt at decreased interest rates. He also wants low and middle income students to only be required to pay a maximum 10 percent of their monthly income towards debt each month. He does, however, believe in student loan forgiveness, though it’s unclear what his plan is for eliminating debt owed. His end goal is for “every student to go to college debt-free.”
McMurray is a proud supporter of union jobs and has made promises to work towards ensuring a living wage for all workers, regardless of the job.
His first priority in office, though, is to repeal the Republican tax bill and ensure the safety of Social Security.
4. Democratic Leaders Initially Viewed McMurray’s Run as Non-Viable
Since New York’s 27th Congressional District is often viewed as a lost cause for Democrats, the party’s leaders, both statewide and nationally, didn’t view McMurray’s run as viable. McMurray earned the primary nomination by default, as no other Democrats chose to run against him. McMurray told The Public that when the Democratic Party started paying attention to him earlier this year, they didn’t exactly impress him.
“They offered me all kinds of things,” McMurray said. He told them they didn’t have anything to offer that he wanted. Governor Andrew Cuomo even asked him to leave the race to run against Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs. Cuomo wanted Lieutenant Governer Kathy Hochul to run in McMurray’s place, as Hochul previously held the seat.
Cuomo went as far as to put his support behind Hochul at a rally in April and suggested that Nancy Pelosi felt the same way.
McMurray’s response to Cuomo‘s attempt to push him out of the 27th Congressional District race: “The Governor is not out there with me in the 27th District. He does not see the energy and enthusiasm we see, not from big donors but from regular people.”
McMurray, in many respects, can viewed as an anti-establishment candidate. He has said that he wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.
Despite the obvious divide between McMurray and current party leaders, McMurray expressed his respect for Cuomo and Hochul, and said he would look forward to working with her if she is re-elected as Lieutenant Governor.
McMurray said, “No one owns me. No one owns the people of NY 27.”
5. McMurray Was a Fullbright Scholar & has Experience in the Private Sector Practicing Law
McMurray came from humble beginnings, graduating from North Tonawanda Senior High, a small town in the 27th District, before attending night classes at Erie Community College. He went on to graduate from SUNY Buffalo and attend Hastings College of Law. After Hastings, he studied for his Master’s in Law at Tsinghua University in China. There, he earned a prestigious Fullbright Scholarship in order to study South Korea’s development towards a constitutional democracy.
Following a stint teaching at the Judicial Research and Training Institute in South Korea, McMurray worked as senior legal counsel for Samsung.
McMurray was recruited into politics by the Erie County Democrats. He won the office of Town Supervisor in Grand Island, a Republican town, by two votes. He currently holds that office. He lives in Grand Island with his wife and sons.