Just days after being indicted for insider trading, Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) is suspending his re-election campaign. Collins is facing multiple counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and deceiving investigators. His son Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, Cameron’s future father-in-law were also named in the indictment.
Collins was the first congressman to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, but Republicans are scrambling to remove him from the New York ballot as his name hanging around the neck of the GOP is akin to inviting Typhoid Mary over for cocktails.
The timing could not be more problematic for President Trump and the Republicans, as midterm elections approach.
The State of New York
Every state has quirky election processes: California has jungle primaries and New Mexico has “game by lot” which is legal speak for a coin toss, card game, or drawing of straws to decide a tied race.
In New York, removing a name from a ballot is tougher than getting a table at Gramercy Tavern. And at this stage of the game, Collins’ name can be cast off in circumstances only if he dies or moves out of state – perhaps in fleeing a jurisdiction. But I digress.
The point is that Republicans in New York are scrambling to find a way around this pesky ballot issue. Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy was quick to point out that Collins had stepped back from the campaign, with strong hints at imminent departure:
“At this point, he has decided it’s a distraction focusing on his legal situation. It was a distraction for us trying to retain the seat as conservative and Republican leadership. So, I think it was the best decision given the circumstances, and I wish him and his family the best.”
Langworthy also told Politico that Collins had houses in Florida and Washington D.C. and could easily remove himself from his home state.
Republican leaders from each of the eight counties in Collins’ 27th District would be charged with selecting a replacement candidate. The district overwhelmingly chose Donald Trump in 2016, sailing 24 points over Mrs. Clinton and hopes are high among Republicans that whoever they choose, barring any arrests or indictments, would be easily elected to the House of Representatives.
But Democrats are licking their chops at the thought of upsetting the apple cart while the conservative circus is busy under the big top. What was once thought of as a no-flipping-way-to-win race has at least become a teeny bit more attainable. Nate McMurray, the supervisor of Grand Island, is the Democratic candidate and his once dry coffers are seeing a resurgence of interest. McMurray had $82,000 on hand as of June but then raised “tens of thousands” in one day after Collins’ indictment.
And he finally received attention from Democratic leadership that all but ignored the no-win candidate. McMurray said, “None of the Democratic leadership wanted anything to do with me. In some ways they thought I was too conservative; they thought I was too raw.” Or, why throw cash at a sure-to-lose candidate?
Ah, the tolerant and inclusive Democrats.
No one needs a crystal ball to foretell the race to replace Collins – it’s a very heavily conservative district – and there will be a new, shiny, Republican face elected on November 6 unless, as the left has predicted, the sky will fall.
Shame on Collins for not stepping down sooner to avoid scandal. But whoever is the new representative of New York’s District 27 he or she must be conservative. There is no wiggle room on this issue and this district demands conservative leadership.