McMurray Republican comments picture

St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray made controversial comments about Republicans during a Democratic rally earlier this month.

St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray apologized Tuesday after a recent remark in which he said he’d like Republicans to “end” like Jesse James.

McMurray made the remarks during an appearance at a Democratic party rally on Sept 20 in St. Joseph.

“It was one of those ad libs at a rally, and at rallies we have this rally rhetoric,” McMurray said on Tuesday. “So I got caught up in the moment and made that stupid comment.”

McMurray was the first dignitary to speak at the rally.

“So I’d like to end some of the modern-day ‘Jesse James’ in that other political party,” McMurray said during the rally, referencing St. Joseph’s history with the famed outlaw.

James was killed in St. Joseph in April of 1882 after he was shot.

McMurray’s comments drew some backlash on social media, and he told News-Press NOW that one person he knew personally rejected his private apology. Tuesday was the first time McMurray spoke publicly about his comments.

The rally was attended by high-level Democratic challengers, including gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway. United We Stand: Democrats! hosted the rally.

McMurray, a longtime Democrat, told News-Press NOW that he should’ve acted more responsibly because of his title.

“I should’ve been more cognizant of it,” McMurray said. “I was thinking: Bill McMurray, longtime St. Joseph Democrat, though I’m a conservative Democrat.”

McMurray added that he’s served as mayor, a nonpartisan position, for about two and a half years.

“And you know, this is my first faux pas in partisan language,” he said. “For the next year and a half I want to work hard to bring people together. I don’t want to alienate people with some ad-lib off the cuff remark.”

A representative for the Northwest Missouri Republican Club didn’t return a request for comment about McMurray’s remarks.

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.