Hawley, Bellavia join six other GOP hopefuls at meeting in Geneseeo of party leaders
The eight men who met with GOP party leaders in Geneseo yesterday to discuss their interest in replacing Chris Collins as the Republican nominee in the 27th Congressional District were met by a group of reporters as they walked into the meeting, including two hopefuls from Batavia, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, and Iraq War veteran David Bellavia.
Both Hawley and Bellavia stuck to an upbeat message about serving the district and noting the voters in the 27th are perhaps a little tired of scandal from their representative in Washington.
"We got to bring dignity back," Bellavia said. "These people (in the NY-27) have been through a lot. I mean, it's our second time around."
Bellavia was referring to Rep. Chris Lee, who was accused of posting shirtless pictures of himself on Craigslist while looking for transexual dates, and Rep. Chris Collins, currently under indictment on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.
"We've got to put that behind us and get a candidate that the people can get behind," Bellavia said. "Vitality is important and the Republican Party needs to bring energy back. You start by registering more Republicans and get more people to join the committees. That's the kind of a model that I'm bringing to the table and that's what I'm proud to represent."
Collins has bowed out of the race for 2018 -- a critical mid-term election for the GOP to try and retain a majority in the House of Representatives -- and now the Republicans are scrambling to figure out a legal way to get Collins off the November ballot, pick a new candidate and get that candidate's campaign up and running. All under the assumption that after the Collins fiasco, the Democrats are coming hard after this seat, fully funding Nate McMurray's effort to switch the 27th from red to blue.
Under the circumstances, Hawley suggested, the voters of the NY-27 are ready for an experienced representative with the maturity to handle the job.
"They've had a long, long road over the past eight to 10 years," Hawley said. "This is about representing people and having a feel for what it is they need and I think what they need is a calm, steady, firm hand and the ability to be able to listen to what their needs, wants and desires."
With a short campaign window, Hawley said he can raise the funds needed for the campaign, and though he can't afford to self-fund, he can make a contribution.
"I am a prolific fundraiser and the vice chairman of the Republican Campaign Committee and I have a healthy amount in my Friends of Steve Hawley account," Hawley said. "Where we should be looking is for small donations and contributions from people who think you would be able to do the job for them. Whether it's 10 dollars, 25 dollars, 50 bucks, that's really what America is all about."
Fundraising will be a challenge, Bellavia said but he also said it's going to take a lot of hard work to win the race.
"It's an 80-day election cycle," Bellavia said. "Everyone's worried about funding. The D Triple C is going to put in a lot of money into this campaign and you've got a guy out there in Grand Island -- who ... he's going to need a real estate agent to be your congressman -- but he's working his tail off. He's a good guy who's out there working hard and it's going to take a lot of elbow grease to be able to defeat him."
Hawley and Bellavia were showing up for kind of a candidates forum with 17 party leaders from the NY-27. This wasn't the formal interview with the eight county chairs nor were any decisions made about who to support as the party's nominee.
Also attending were Erie County Legislator Ed Rath, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, Assemblyman Ray Walter, State Senator Robert Ortt, former gubernatorial candidate and former Buffalo school board member Carl Paladino, and State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer.
Bellavia said the party bosses should pick the right person for the job, not somebody who just wants the title of congressman.
"My whole life has been about service," Bellavia said. "I mean, we were electing a congressman. Why are we doing this? Are we doing this for ourselves? Are we doing this because we're bored? Or are we doing this because it's our time and you know we held the position before but this one's really super juicy? Are we doing this because we want to serve our country? I believe that this country is worthy of any sacrifice and if I'm called to duty I'm going answer that duty you know."
Hawley also said the short election time frame will mean he needs to work hard if he's selected to represent the party but, he said, that isn't any different than what he does every election cycle.
"I have campaigned door-to-door in this Assembly District and before that for the county legislature, door-to-door all of the time," Hawley said. "Last time I didn't have an opponent. I didn't like that. I think people deserve a choice. And even though I had no opponent I still went door-to-door. Some people would say, 'What the heck you're doing here?' And I said, 'I'm here to ask for your support and listen to those questions you might have.' So, whether we've got an opponent or not, whether they're well-financed, whether they're well known, it's all about the people."
Top composite photo: Steve Hawley on the left, and David Bellavia.
Audio and images provided by our news partner, 13WHAM. For their story about the event, click here.
David Bellavia is a self promoting war profiteer. As a cofounder and officer of "Vets for freedom" (one of many "political advocacy organizations" with misnomer names) he has SUPER supported the continuation of warmonger misadventures in the Middle East. An organization with advisors such as bill kristol, a persistent and long tenured WAR PIG. Funding from sheldon adelson, a multibillionaire casino money magnet who uses his money to buy and propagandize newspapers in Israel and the US. And who has been quoted advocating a nuclear attack on Iran to show them "we mean business." Vets for freedom has supported joe lieberman, a long entrenched democrat as well as other Democrats. So the core ideal of his "baby" is to promote war. The last thing we need is another warmonger in our government. Please consider ANY other Republican to replace Collins.
President Trump was elected largely based on his repeated assertions that "war is a waste." These assertions set him apart from the many other Republican aspirants to the Presidency. I think that an entrenched warmonger as the Republican candidate will promote lethargy among Republican voters at best, and votes for the opposition at worst. These repeated wars at the behest of political benedict arnolds is the very definition of insanity.
I'd vote for Steve Hawley. (And I'm a Democrat !)