Mikal Watts

Citing family reasons, Corpus Christi plaintiffs' attorney Mikal Watts, a Democratic candidate for John Cornyn's spot in the U.S. Senate, has withdrawn from the race.

In a statement released Tuesday, Oct. 23, Watts, 39, said he has seen the toll the last five months of campaigning has taken on his young children.

"For these reasons, my wife and I have made the decision that I will not be seeking the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 2008," he said.

Watts said he spent the last several months exploring the Senate race because he believes "our junior senator, John Cornyn, has let Texas down and is more concerned with his cronies and friends in Washington than with what's best for Texas."

He said the reasons for creating the exploratory committee still exist and that the people of Texas "want and need a Senator who will fight every day for their interests and not the special interests."

"We need to elect a new Senator in Texas and I will personally do everything possible to support the Democratic nominee," Watts said.

At the moment, Watts was set to take on state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston for the Democratic nomination against Republican Cornyn in 2008.

Watts put millions of his own dollars into his campaign.

In June, Watts took Cornyn's first-quarter campaign report and matched Cornyn's money to the penny -- $3.8 million.

Watts has plenty at his disposal. He won $13 million for plaintiffs in a 2001 product liability case against Bridgestone/Firestone and then hit Ford Motor Co. with more than $100 million in damages awarded to plaintiffs in SUV rollover cases.

He also won a jury award in the first trial in the country over the diabetes drug Rezulin.

But Watts also said he will not disappear from the scene altogether.

"I was brought up to believe that public service is a noble endeavor and I will continue to be involved at some level in the future. However, I realize that my time now should be devoted to serving my children so they may grow up in a healthy environment with both parents at home to meet their needs," Watts said.

His past level of involvement in politics has been in the form of donations to Democratic candidates for state and federal offices. He has supported candidates like John Edwards, John Kerry and Tom Daschle with more than $2 million donated personally or through his law firm.

Watts graduated from the University of Texas Law School at age 21 and established his own firm in Corpus Christi in 1997. In the past 10 years, Watts Law Firm has won verdicts and negotiated settlement exceeding $1 billion.

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