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Indicted congressman scores narrow win in NY-27, County Legislature gets four-year terms

By Howard B. Owens

As Nate McMurray appeared on TV just after 11 o'clock tonight, a couple of local Democrats at Center Street Smoke House for election night noticed McMurray didn't look happy.

The room turned glum.

"Don't concede, Nate," one of them said.

That's was what McMurray was about to do.

With 94 percent of the precincts reporting in the New York 27th Congressional District, Rep. Chris Collins held at 2,697 vote lead, a 49.5 to 48.4 percent margin.

In Genesee County, Collins won with 2,837 more votes, 53.8 percent to 39.91 percent, or 10,986 votes to 8,149.

These are unofficial vote totals, not yet certified and do not include absentee ballots.

Reform Party candidate Larry Piegza picked up 598 votes locally, or 2.93 percent, which was fewer votes than the 651 ballot line for the 27th blank.

McMurray did beat Collins in the City of Batavia, 2,219 votes to 1,821.

The NY-27 is a 22-point Republican advantage and McMurray, a Democrat who is town supervisor in Grand Island, still managed to make it a close race, primarily because Collins has spent much of the past year under the cloud of an ethics investigation and was arrested Aug. 8 on federal charges related to alleged insider trading. 

Also in Genesee County, the controversial ballot measure to stagger and extend terms in office members of the County Legislature passed 9,508 votes to 8,981.

In contested races, Barbara Czworka won the Town of Bethany Highway Superintendent election over Michael T. Adams, 440 votes to 289 votes. For Town of Alexander Justice, Mark Anderson beat Nicholas Falcone 775 to 757. (CORRECTION: This was a vote-for-two election. Anderson and Falcone both ran unopposed, not against each other.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not fare well among Genesee County voters, getting only 4,982 votes to 13,397 for Marc Molinaro. Larry Sharpe received 1,201 votes locally. Howie Hawkins got 252 and Stephanie Minor, 188.

UPDATE 12:28 a.m.: McMurray issued the following statement:

"While tonight's results are disheartening, my fight for a better Western New York and a better United States will not end. This is my home, and I believe we deserve better than a Congressman under indictment and out on bail, but I also respect the will of the voters, and they have spoken. This campaign was a part of a movement to fight for the rights and leadership that we deserve as Americans. Tonight’s result is a setback, but we will never give up.”

UPDATE 12:53 a.m.: McMurray just issued a new statement demanding a recount:

"After examining the numbers, the margin is 1 percent and the will of the voters must be heard. We are demanding a recount. Mr. Collins is going to need another set of lawyers.”

We'll have more election coverage sometime tomorrow.

Top photo: Democrats watch Nate McMurray's concession speech at Center Street.

Tim Miller

Well, we cannot be surprised. After all, the same voters knowingly and willingly voted for a guy who admitted to sexual assault ("grab them by the p***y") and who admitted to being a con-man ($25 million returned to Trump "University" students).

I guess as long as it was somebody else's p***y or somebody else's stock, it just doesn't matter. Regardless - the GOP now has absolutely no claim to being compassionate nor moral.

Nov 7, 2018, 9:36am Permalink
Cheryl Saville

As a former Republican, now Independent and leaning more to the conservative, I voted "Collins" four years ago. Yesterday, I voted for McMurray in spite of differences we have on a few issues. He is the better candidate. This preliminary result should not be taken by Collins as a personal endorsement. I think voters didn't want to risk losing a GOP seat.. So they held their noses and voted for him. The fact that he is under indictment and facing trial was less of a factor in my vote than his lack of response to constituents for the past four years and and the campaign "strategy" he employed. The arrogance and disdain for WNY was something I could not overlook. We deserve and need much better. I hope the recount reverses his victory.

Nov 7, 2018, 10:33am Permalink
tom hunt

My sentiments exactly. I consider him a arrogant, self centered individual who is out to line his own and family pockets. His disdain for this area is well known. As Cheryl said, I held my nose when I voted. NYS can't afford to lose a Republican representative in Congress.

Nov 7, 2018, 2:48pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

"NYS can't afford to lose a Republican representative in Congress"

Another way of looking at it ... we now have a representative who is a member of the minority party, no committee assignments, the subject of a House ethics investigation, but whose federal trial is more than a year away (and the way these things go, likely to get delayed), who's afraid to be seen in public, who's afraid to talk with reporters, so for the next two years, we effectively have no representation in Congress.

Nov 7, 2018, 11:21am Permalink
Tim Miller

Great points, Howard...

And McMurray's comment of "Mr. Collins is going to need another set of lawyers" is golden. Maybe should have made it "Mr. Collins is going to need YET another set of lawyers..."

Nov 7, 2018, 2:08pm Permalink

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