News & Politics

Republican Candidates Come Forth to Replace Rep. Chris Collins in NY-27

Donald Trump, left, and Carl Paladino, who ran for governor of New York as a Republican in 2010, speak during a gun rights rally at the Empire State Plaza on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

The news earlier this week that Republican Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) was arrested on insider trading charges suddenly put the future of the solidly Republican seat in question. Initially, Collins announced his intention to remain on the ballot in November while he fights to clear his name, but this morning he announced that while he intends to serve out his term, he would suspend his campaign.

Outside his home in the wealthy Spaulding Lake community in Clarence on Saturday, Collins declined to discuss any potential successors and asked for privacy.

“I’ve made a decision to withdraw and it’s up to the party to decide,” Collins said.

In a statement earlier in the day, Collins said: “After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress.”

In the statement, Collins also said: “I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing.”

This announcement sparked speculation about who might run in the hopes of keeping NY-27 in the Republican column in this important midterm election year that historically favors the party out of power. This afternoon, Buffalo businessman, former New York gubernatorial candidate, and Trump supporter Carl Paladino announced on Twitter his intention to run for the seat.

Earlier this year, Paladino decided against challenging embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Paladino is not the only Republican who has announced intentions to run. Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw announced his intention to run for the seat earlier today as well.

Chris Collins has held the seat since winning his first election in 2012. Other local Republicans have been mentioned as possible candidates as well.

Assemblyman Ray Walter, a Republican who ran for Erie County executive in 2015, did not rule out a bid in a statement of his own.

In the statement, Walter said he was “honored to be mentioned” as a potential candidate for the House seat, saying he hoped to have the “necessary conversations” about the next candidate.

Another potential Collins successor is David Bellavia, an Iraq war veteran who sought the nomination against Collins in a 2012 primary.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of possible contenders: The 27th congressional district has several relatively young and prominent Republican officeholders who could seek the backing of local GOP leaders.

Whoever ultimately replaces Collins will have to face Democrat Nate McMurray, town supervisor of Grand Island, New York.