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chris collins

October 17, 2018 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

Rep. Chris Collins says he will clear his good name when his insider trading case goes to trial in February 2020.

But to do that he may need to convince a jury that he didn't tell his son about a failed medical trial for a new drug developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics when Collins called him from the White House lawn June 22, according to an attorney who specializes in insider trading law.

Robert Heim is a former Securities Exchange Commission attorney who now works as a private defense attorney for those accused of violating securities laws.

"Perhaps Mr. Collins might argue that somehow the information was either public or had been leaked out, but on its face, it seems like a very difficult case for him to beat right now," Heim said.

Neither Collins nor his attorneys have shared what his defense might be, but as Heim acknowledged, prosecutors have a lot of evidence related to the number and timing of phone calls, text messages, and trades, which is why Collins will need to offer a convincing explanation for the June 22 phone call.

On June 22, at 6:55 p.m, Collins received an email from Innate's CEO, Simon Wilkinson, informing Collins, who was among the company's largest shareholders and a member of Innate's board of directors, that a critical trial for a new multiple sclerosis drug had failed.

"I have bad news to report," Wilkinson wrote, according to government documents. "The top line analysis of the 'intent to treat' patient population (i.e., every subject who was successfully enrolled in the study) would pretty clearly indicate 'clinical failure.' "

Innate was a single-product company and the trial's failure meant it would not bring that drug to market.

Collins responded at 7:10 p.m., according to prosecutors, "Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???"

According to prosecutors, Collins immediately attempted to contact his son, Cameron Collins. He called Cameron twice. Cameron called back three times. Chris Collins called him back. On their seventh attempt to connect, at 7:16 p.m., father and son finally spoke with each other.

Chris and Cameron spoke for six minutes and eight seconds.

There was no wiretap on the phone call, and prosecutors have not indicated that they have any direct knowledge of what Collins told his son.

Prosecutors will attempt to prove Collins told Cameron of the failed MIS416 trial, disclosing nonpublic information, knowing it was a breach of his duties and anticipating his son would trade on the information and tip others.

Heim said Collins will need to convince a jury that he discussed with Cameron something other than the MIS416 trial, be it the weather, or "wow, I'm at the White House," wedding plans, or some other topic that seemed urgent at the time.

"I've worked on insider trading cases like this for about 20 years now and almost always these are circumstantial cases," Heim said. "People rarely come in and admit to committing insider trading, so a jury is going to really have to look at the various facts in terms of timing the phone calls, the timing of trades, and people's explanations to really come up with a decision as to what's more likely: Was this inside information discussed? Or were they talking about other things and this just happens to be very poor coincidental timing?"

If the failed drug trial was a topic of the June 22 phone call, Heim indicated Collins is going to have a hard time proving his innocence, especially in a Second Circuit court. The Second Circuit, he said, has a "loose standard" on what constitute's "tipper liability."

"If you're passing on information, the inside information, to a family member that satisfies what's called the 'personal benefit test' that is required to be proven for the government to win an insider trading case," Heim said.

Chris and Cameron Collins, along with 66-year-old Stephen Zarsky, father of Cameron's girlfriend, Lauren, are charged with in Federal Court with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to FBI agents.

Lauren and her mother, Dorothy have already settled with the SEC.

The morning after receiving his father's call, according to the SEC complaint, Cameron started to act on the allegedly non-public information, including selling stock and tipping the Zarsky family.

If Chris Collins can successfully argue that he didn't tell his son about the non-public information, then Cameron may need to prove he obtained it from another source.

It's not illegal to buy or sell stocks on "insider information" if it was legally obtained. For example, if Cameron overheard his father or somebody else talking about the failed trial with a person who was authorized to share the information, he can do as he pleases with the information.

Barry Switzer, former University of Oklahoma football coach, was at a track meet in 1981 when he overheard a company CEO discussing his firm's plans. The next day, Switzer and his friends acted on the non-public information and eventually made $600,000 on the trade. Switzer was charged with insider trading, but a court ruled in Switzer's favor.

"The court said that that's not illegal as long as you're not breaching some sort of duty or someone's not telling you the information in violation of a confidentiality agreement," Heim said. "That a legitimate defense."

Cameron's case hinges entirely, it seems, on how he knew to dump his 1.4 million shares of Innate stock just before news of the failed trial went public.

"In order for that chain to be legally actionable it has to have as the source a breach of a fiduciary duty or some other duty that's owed to the company and its shareholders," Heim said. "And that Cameron received that information separately, not from his father but by perhaps overhearing a conversation. Then if he's successful in that argument then, yes, he's free to tell other people about that information and essentially tip them because he did not breach his duty in the first instance by acquiring that information."

Besides the record of phone calls, texts, and trades, the prosecution may have other evidence that  is not yet publicly disclosed, Heim said. We also don't know how Lauren and Dorothy Zarsky, or others, might cooperate with the prosecution. There could have admissible information that supports the prosecution's theory that Chris Collins tipped Cameron Collins.

Witness testimony gets complicated, Heim said, because of trial rules involving hearsay and spousal privilege but there could be supporting witness testimony that is used at trial.

Without wiretaps, Heim said, "this could come down to a he-said-she-said type of scenario."

Based on the evidence made public so far, Heim said it seems like the government has a pretty solid case.

"It looks like there was a very thorough investigation, Heim said. "They put together the best evidence they could into a circumstantial case. Now I think really falls on Mr. Collins to come forward with some explanation or evidence as to what other topics were discussed in the calls and why they were being made at that particular time."

Photo: File photo.

NOTE: The Batavian has requested multiple of times an interview with Rep. Chris Collins. He has not agreed to an interview so we have been unable to ask him questions related to his insider trading case or even questions relevant to his bid for reelection.

October 16, 2018 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify, Nate McMurray, Larry Piegza.

A poll released today by Siena gives Rep. Chris Collins a mere 3-percentage-point lead over challenger Nate McMurray in the NY-27 congressional race.

Three percentage points are within the margin of error -- plus or minus 4.7 percent -- making the race a statistical dead heat. 

This matches the results of an internal poll released by McMurray's campaign last week that showed the race tracking as a tie with three weeks left until Election Day.

In response to the release of the poll, McMurray issued the following statement:

“This poll tells us what we already know, that voters are choosing country over party. They’re motivated based on who will help families like theirs rather than simply voting along partisan lines. We always knew this would be a close race, and this poll shows that it’s neck and neck. But our TV ads went on the air yesterday, after this poll was conducted; our grassroots support is strong, and as more voters tune in to the race and learn that they have a real choice, we’re more and more confident.”

The Batavian emailed Natalie Baldassarre, campaign manager for Collins, and asked for a statement from Collins -- not her -- about the poll, his third-quarter fundraising report, which includes a campaign expenditure for the use of a private jet. We have not received a response.

Political reporter Ryan Whalan with Capitol Tonight in Albany said in a tweet this morning that he has made several requests to Collins for an interview and has been rebuffed. Since his arrest on federal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI, Collins has largely avoided contact with the media or answering tough questions.

His only campaign appearances have been at invite-only Republican events. After The Batavian was unable to secure an interview with Collins, we announced we would stop publishing his campaign press releases until he sits down for an interview with The Batavian. The deadline for the interview is this Friday and Collins has yet to agree to an interview.

The Siena Poll results released doesn't break out how Collins is doing vs. McMurray in Genesee County, but it does say McMurray is leading in Erie County 46 to 45 percent. Collins is leading in the rest of the 27th District 46 to 42 percent.

Reform Party Candidate Larry Piegza is favored by 1 percent of the voters.

While Collins has a narrow lead in the race, the indicted congressman has a much higher unfavorable rating than McMurray, 49 to 21 percent. 

In most congressional races throughout the country, women are trending toward supporting the Democratic candidate but not in the NY-27. Collins is supported by 46 percent of the women polled compared to 42 percent for McMurray.

McMurray also seems to be bucking the trend of Democrats picking up younger voters. In the under 55 demographic, Collins leads 49 to 42 percent. McMurray is fairing better with older voters, where Collins' margin is a mere 2 percentage points,  45 to 43.

McMurray leads the race among nonpartisan voters 46-45 percent.

Siena surveyed 490 likely voters in the district between Oct. 6 and 11.

President Donald Trump's approval rating is 56 percent among voters in the district, much higher than his 42 percent approval rating nationally.

Fifty-six percent of those polled want to see the Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, since his arrest, Collins has seen donations to his campaign fall off a cliff, according to the Buffalo News.

Collins, who reportedly had more than $1 million in his war chest before his arrest, raised $32,755.74 in the third quarter, and only $2,955 was donated to his campaign after his arrest.

All but $80 of the money donated to Collins in the last round came from residents of the 27th District.

In the quarter, Collins spent $233,369 on advertising, $40,147.33 in legal fees and a $7,895 on a charter flight.

Members of Congress must justify travel expenses as a legitimate campaign activity to spend campaign funds on travel, according to House Rules.

Baldassarre told the Buffalo News that the chartered plane was used to return Collins to Buffalo after his arrest in New York City on Aug. 8. Collins was hours late to a press conference he scheduled and congressional staff at the time (the event was staffed by government employees, not campaign employees) told members of the media that his flight had been delayed. Though Collins called a press conference, he refused to take questions after issuing a statement.

October 15, 2018 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democrat and Working Families Party Congressional candidate in NY-27, released the following statement in response to fundraising figures released by his opponent, Chris Collins who is currently out on bail after being indicted on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI.

“Let me get this straight: Chris Collins sat on the board of a drug company, then conspired to make sure he didn’t lose money when a drug trial failed, then lied about it to the FBI, then decided he’d run for re-election because his lawyers thought it would keep him out of jail and now the only financial support for his campaign comes from pharmaceutical special interests? If it wasn’t so shameless, it would be unbelievable,” McMurray said.

“Who is Chris Collins beholden to? Not the voters, he won’t even meet with them. But his buddies in the pharmaceutical industry? Yes, and he’ll end up in jail because of it. Now we have evidence that he’s using his campaign as a slush fund to pay his attorneys even after he said he wouldn’t.

“Mr. Collins has said that his loyalty is to his donors, but he doesn’t seem to have many of those either. He spent more on fundraising consultants and fundraising events than he’s earned.

“Support is fading, Chris. People see that your campaign gets more desperate by the day. I’m proud that we’ve had thousands of hard-working Americans chipping in through potlucks and picnics to fight the corruption they see in Washington. They know we can do better than a member of Congress out on bail and has been kicked off of every Congressional committee.”

A third-quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission by Collins shows his campaign raised a mere $32,755.74 in the last three months.

Last week, McMurray announced that he raised more than $475,000 in the third quarter, the vast majority of it in the seven weeks following Collins’ indictment. McMurray’s impressive fundraising comes even as he will not accept corporate PAC money.

He was recently endorsed by End Citizens United, a group dedicated to getting Big Money out of politics and fixing the rigged system in Washington so it works for all Americans. McMurray’s full announcement is here.

McMurray's impressive fundraising kicked off a week of good news as a recent poll showed McMurray tied with Chris Collins. And today, McMurray’s advertisements went on the air. Momentum is building for McMurray in NY-27.

October 11, 2018 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Nate McMurray, news, chris collins.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democrat and Working Families Party Congressional candidate in NY-27, today responded to news that his opponent, indicted member of Congress Chris Collins won’t stand trial until 2020. Collins was indicted on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI in August.

“Now it’s official, Chris Collins will be beholden to his defense attorneys for the next year and a half, not the voters, not the hard-working people of Western New York, but his lawyers," McMurray said.

"He won’t just be a part-time, he’ll be a no-time Congressman. This is shocking and truly embarrassing to the people of Western New York. I’m out talking to voters every day and they tell me that they deserve better. They’re right.

“House Speaker Paul Ryan has stripped Collins of all of his committee assignments in Congress. He won’t help the people of this region. He can’t help the people of this region. He never did. There couldn’t be a clearer contrast in this race. He will not let go of his congressional seat until this trial is over, or until the voters take it from him. They will.”

This morning, McMurray stood shoulder-to-shoulder with more than 100 activists and supporters from the labor community who pledged to work to get McMurray elected on Nov. 6. They praised his integrity, work ethic and commitment to the values that help the working men and women of this region.

McMurray was endorsed by New York’s Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, the last Democrat to win this district and a great champion of Western New York./p>

McMurray'’s rally with working people comes a day after he announced polling that shows a dead heat between himself and Collins. Earlier this week, McMurray’s campaign announced he raised close to a half million dollars in the third quarter with the vast majority of that money coming in the seven weeks following Collins’ indictment – and that total does not include any corporate PAC money.

October 6, 2018 - 7:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

The Batavian has always had a policy of publishing most press releases from elected officials who directly represent us, Assembly, State Senate, U.S. Congress.

During the campaign cycle, we’ve published most verbatim press releases from the candidates for those offices.

It’s also been our practice in the past to interview the candidates in tightly contested races for our congressional seat.

This year, so far, we’ve interviewed Nate McMurray (to be published at a later date) and will interview Larry Piegza.

So far, Rep. Chris Collins has brushed off requests for an interview, never saying no but refusing to commit to a date for an interview.

An interview is a chance to clarify a candidate’s positions on specific policy questions, to probe their errors in logic or counter-factual claims, as well as pin them down on campaign promises. Interviews with the press by politicians and candidates is an important part of our democratic process. It’s how we hold to account and ensure transparency from those who might represent us.

A good example of how this can play out comes from the 2012 contest when the Kathy Hochul campaign used, in our opinion, a Chris Collins quote out of context. We were able to publish the full context of the quote to correct the record.

For The Batavian, in a contested race, interviews, either a sitdown formal interview or along the campaign trail, are also a way to balance out the unfiltered claims politicians make in their press releases.

For that reason, we don’t think it is fair or right to continue publishing press releases from the campaign of Chris Collins without a firm commitment to a sit-down interview.

Chris Collins has told The Batavian many times that he appreciates the fair, factual and challenging questions we have peppered him with in past interviews. He said he considers our coverage of him fair and accurate. He has said he enjoys the challenge of tough questions.

But since his arrest on insider trading charges, he has tended to try and avoid the press, giving only one interview since to a Buffalo TV station, and confining his public appearance to friendly audiences with no prior notice to news outlets.

In my opinion, a person running for Congress should not be able to cloister himself in his office and avoid the accountability of public appearances and interviews.

We will continue to publish as appropriate press releases from the congressional office of Chris Collins but we will not publish campaign press releases until we have a time-certain appointment for an interview with no limitations on questions (and, of course, Collins must keep his appointment with us).

Of course, in the meantime, we will continue to publish campaign press releases from Nate McMurray and Larry Piegza since they're playing by the rules.

October 1, 2018 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) praised President Trump and his administration for reaching a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada to be called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

USMCA will make significant changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that will put the United States on more equal footing with the other nations. Specifically with regard to the dairy industry, Canada’s pricing program has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products, harming Western New York’s dairy industry.

“Today’s announcement is proof that House Republicans under President Trump’s leadership are getting our nation back on track and standing up for American interests,” Collins said. “President Trump has stood with Western New York’s dairy farmers to protect this industry and make sure American farmers are being treated fairly. The USMCA is a big win for Western New York and I applaud the President’s hard work.”

Collins has fought to end Canada’s unfair Class 7 pricing program, which has severely impacted New York dairy farmers. Under the USMCA, Canada has agreed to eliminate this program in order to level the playing field between the United States and Canada while allowing our dairy producers the ability to expand sales overseas.

Outside of the dairy industry, this trade agreement will increase the production of American goods and services. The agreement requires that 75 percent of auto content be produced in North America and makes critical reforms that will boost autoworkers’ wages. Additionally, the USMCA includes strong labor provisions that prioritize and protect American manufacturing jobs.

Furthermore, the agreement provides strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This includes 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs and a large scope of products eligible for protection. These reforms are critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs. 

Collins added: “President Trump is fulfilling his campaign promises and Republicans in Congress are eager to keep working with the White House to Make America Great Again.”

Press release from Sen. Charles Schumer:

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the following statement regarding the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico:

“As someone who voted against NAFTA and opposed it for many years, I knew it needed fixing. The president deserves praise for taking large steps to improve it. However, any final agreement must be judged on how it benefits and protects middle-class families and the working people in our country.

“Two areas where I particularly want to see the details are dairy, where our dairy farmers are being taken advantage of by Canada, and real enforcement of labor provisions. The labor provisions are good, but too often they are written into trade bills and never enforced.

“If a final agreement is signed by all three countries, I also look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to write ‘implementing legislation’ to ensure the deal actually achieves these goals.”

October 1, 2018 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, Nate McMurray, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Yesterday on ABC News, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said if Democrats regain control of the House, the House Judiciary Committee would have to investigate Brett Kavanaugh if he's confirmed to the Supreme Court.

"We are looking forward to seeing where our self-admitted progressive opponent Nate McMurray stands on this issue," said Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre. "Both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the FBI have done everything in their power to investigate these allegations, and so far both have come up with nothing.

"Now, Nancy Pelosi and her radical cohorts are desperately attempting to hijack this seat. The voters of NY-27 deserve to know if Nate McMurray agrees with the far-left cries to impeach Brett Kavanaugh."

Rep. Nadler, who would likely chair the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats regain control, said lawmakers "would have to investigate any credible allegations ... of perjury and other things that haven't been properly looked into before." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has even floated the idea of impeaching Kavanaugh if he is confirmed.

"If the FBI doesn't find any corroborating evidence against Brett Kavanaugh, the vast majority of Americans agree that he should be confirmed to the Supreme Court," Baldassarre added. "At the very least, Nate McMurray should let the voters of NY-27 know if he plans to stand in the way of that happening."

September 22, 2018 - 8:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray.

Rep. Chris Collins, under federal indictment on charges of securities fraud, has kicked off his resurgent campaign with an ad attacking Democratic candidate Nate McMurray for supposedly having something to do with a free trade agreement with Korea, which Collins falsely claims has cost the United States 95,000 jobs.

In 2010, South Korea and the United States entered a free trade agreement commonly known as KORUS. 

Collins is apparently getting his statistic from a 2016 report by the union-backed Economic Policy Institute, which has a record of calculating job loss estimates solely on a balance-of-trade figure. 

Such a calculation ignores the increase in exports, the lower costs of imports, the jobs created from increased trade, and an assumption that the imports would have been made in the United States if not for the trade agreement. It is not a survey of how many actual workers, if any, were terminated after the trade deal.

Scott Lincicome, an international trade expert with the conservative Cato Institute, has written a couple of times about EPI's flawed methodology. 

EPI used the same methodology to make false claims about jobs lost to China. 

Writing about a similar report in 2012, Lincicome said:

I really shouldn't give the "study" an iota of bandwith, but because it will undoubtedly be mentioned by ignorant journalists or opportunistic politicians looking to respectively score a few cheap page views or scare a few unwitting voters, here's all you need to read:

  • My 2010 blog post dismantling of EPI and its study (including boatloads of links from myriad scholars decrying EPI's asinine "trade deficit = job losses" methodology); and
  • Today's quick dismissal of the EPI report by the U.S.-China Business Council.

The claim of 95,000 jobs lost is also contradicted by steady economic growth in the United States since 2010, including 95 straight months of job growth. Since 2010, the U.S. economy has added more than 18 million jobs.

According to a U.S. Trade Representative report from 2015, KORUS had increased U.S. exports to Korea by nearly $25 billion annually to that point. 

"U.S. auto exports to Korea increased by 208 percent by value between 2011 and 2015," the report states, "more than 14 times faster than the increase of U.S. auto exports to the world (up 14 percent), thanks to Korea’s 50-percent tariff reduction (from 8 percent to 4 percent) when KORUS entered into force."

In 2016, the USTR reported that total, two-way trade with Korea had increased to $144.6 billion, with $63.8 billion in exports and $80.8 billion in imports.

A trade deficit does not translate into job losses, however. It means Americans are buying more because of greater availability or lower prices. It doesn't mean those products would have been made in the United States.

The Batavian tried to contact the communications director for the Collins campaign this morning and got no response. We reached out to Chris Grant, who works for the campaign, and he referred us to a statement Collins issued to the Buffalo News.

This is a real video of Nate McMurray that he removed from social media because he didn’t want to defend his efforts to promote a Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that shipped nearly 100,000 U.S. jobs overseas. Nate McMurray needs a new video to explain why he opposes President Trump's policies that are protecting American jobs and American workers. Hopefully, he’ll leave that video up.

Via text message, The Batavian pointed out to Grant that the statement didn't address Collins's false claim about the number of jobs lost and we got no response.

Collins made his claim as part of a campaign commercial (see video above) that attacks McMurray's past employment as an attorney for U.S. companies in Korea.

According to the Buffalo News story, McMurray helped U.S. companies trying to open up the Korean market to their exports.

McMurray learned to speak Korean while working there. He married a Korean. He's said that the Collins' ad is xenophobic. He shared this on Twitter yesterday:

"I watched that ugly attack ad with my son. His mom is Korean. My son speaks Korean. He looked at me with a grave sadness on his face. He felt what I felt. Neither of us said a word."

Collins was arrested Aug. 3 and charged with securities fraud. A few days later he suspended his campaign. Earlier this week, he announced he would not cooperate with GOP efforts to remove his name from the ballot in November and then announced he would resume actively campaigning for reelection. As far as we know, he made his first public appearance in the district today in Newstead. About the event, he tweeted

It's great to be back on the campaign trail meeting with constituents across NY-27. Voters have a clear choice in November. We must keep this seat in Republican hands to continue advancing President Trump's America first agenda.

September 21, 2018 - 3:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in NY27, politics, Nate McMurray, chris collins, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, the Democratic and Working Families Party Candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District, today responded to the launch of Chris Collins’ so-called campaign comprised solely of TV attack ads:

“Right out of the gate, Chris Collins’ so-called campaign has nothing to do with Chris Collins. There’s a reason: there’s nothing to brag about while their guy is out on bail. This ad is desperate, it’s untruthful, and no one’s going to fall for it. I can’t believe they thought it was a good idea to start with this.

“I won’t shy away from the fact that I speak a foreign language, that I’ve been on the front lines of the trade war that’s redefining our economy, and that I’ve been fighting FOR American workers. Do you think I’d have the support of the local and national labor community if I was going to ship jobs to Asia? Of course not.

“I’ll use every experience I’ve got to fight for this district. No can play me in Warsaw or Washington, Beijing or Batavia.

“If this is the best they’ve got, bring it."

In 2003, Nate was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the development of democracy in the Constitutional Court of Korea. He worked to represent U.S. farmers and U.S. manufacturers ensuring that they had an opportunity to feature their products in Korean stories, helping create jobs back here at home.

About Nate McMurray

Nate McMurray is a native of North Tonawanda. He’s a family man, an Eagle Scout. He is also one of seven children raised by his widowed mother when his father died of cancer at the age of 39. Nate worked his way through community college, earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY-Buffalo, then went on to law school and a successful career in business.

For the last two years, he’s served as town supervisor of Grand Island, a conservative community in Western New York, where he has been instrumental in bringing fiscal responsibility to local government and millions of dollars in new business investment to the town. For more on Nate McMurray and his campaign for Congress in NY-27, visit www.votemcmurray.com.

September 19, 2018 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray, notify.

Rep. Chris Collins announced on Twitter today that he will "actively" seek reelection to the NY-27 seat he's held through three terms despite being under federal indictment for alleged securities fraud, wire fraud and lying to the FBI.

Collins released his statement in a graphic. Below is the graphic:

dnetj3-x0aagqd9.jpg

Below is a response from Nate McMurray, who is challenging Collins in the November election:

Nate McMurray, the Democratic and Working Families Party Candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District, reacted to today’s news that indicted member of Congress and master insider trader Chris Collins would suspend suspending his campaign.
 
“It looks like the criminal is returning to the scene of the crime – and I’m not just talking about insider trading, lying to the FBI and everything else he’s been accused of – I mean the derelict(ion) of duty he did by ignoring his constituents and their interests for every second of his elected life.

"I’m curious to know what Mr. Collins means by ‘actively campaign’ because he hasn’t talked to his constituents, hasn’t held town halls, and has been hiding in his penthouse since the FBI arrested him. Now he thinks that the voters of this district who are getting hurt by a trade war, are struggling to make ends meet, and know that Washington is more corrupt than ever, he thinks they’re going to trust him? Give me a break. He looks out for himself. And maybe his donors.

"Chris Collins has been charged with a crime. He can’t buy his way back into his job.

"Chris Collins thinks the rules don’t apply to him. They do.

"Chris Collins represents everything that’s wrong with Washington.

"Chris, if you’re listening from Manhattan, here are a few words you may remember, ‘lock him up’ ‘drain the swamp’. I hear your next court appearance is on October 11. I bet some folks from NY-27 may take a road trip.

"In the meantime, I welcome you on the campaign trail, sir. Bring it.”

September 17, 2018 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify, Nate McMurray.

Rep. Chris Collins, the three-term congressman representing the NY-27 who was arrested on insider trading charges, will remain on the ballot in the November election.

Collins, in contradiction with prior statements, has decided not to cooperate with the efforts of GOP leaders in the district to have his name removed from the ballot and replaced by a new candidate.

Below is the only statement released by the Collins' campaign about the decision:

“Because of the protracted and uncertain nature of any legal effort to replace Congressman Collins we do not see a path allowing Congressman Collins to be replaced on the ballot.”

Statement by Mark Braden, legal counsel for Rep. Chris Collins

GOP county chairs were scheduled to meet tomorrow in Albany to select the person they hoped would replace Collins. WBTA reached Genesee County Chair Dick Siebert this afternoon and he said he was as surprised by the sudden of plans as everybody else.

In response to the news of the decision, Nate McMurray, running as the Democratic opponent to Collins in the election, released the following statement:

Today, Nate McMurray, the Democratic and Working Families Party Candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District, responded to the breaking news that his opponent, indicted Congressman Chris Collins, the first Member of Congress to endorse President Trump, will remain on the ballot despite long-pushed rumors that he would removed before November.

This morning several local news outlets reported and local Republican leaders confirmed that Congressman Collins, on advice from his attorneys, will choose to remain on the ballot.

“Well, it’s nice to finally know who I’m running against. But, in truth, we always knew we were running against Chris Collins. There are laws for a reason. There is accountability in our society for a reason. And in the greatest democracy in the world, voters weren’t going to take this kind of sham switching around names on a ballot at the whims of local party bosses,” McMurray said.

“I credit the people of Western New York for standing up in town after town saying ‘don’t force him on the ballot in my town.’ They saw through this fraud. They weren’t going to fall for the bait-and-switch strategy by the same team that endorsed, celebrated, took pictures with and defended Chris Collins.

“There is an incredible grassroots movement in NY-27. Like me, the voters want to Fight Like Hell against the political machine that has let them down for so long. They like that I’m an underdog. Every day when I’m out meeting voters, we talk about affordable, accessible healthcare for all, defending Social Security, investing in our infrastructure, protecting our farms. But in this region, we’re still always talking about corruption. Voters have a chance to end that once and for all in NY-27 and I’m excited for the next 50 days.”

McMurray heard the news as he was on stage opening his new office headquarters, his fourth in two months, standing with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Chairman Perez announced the news to a raucous crowd of more than 120 volunteers and supporters as he announced that the DNC was “all in” for Nate’s campaign.

September 12, 2018 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

The GOP chairs in the NY-27 will apparently meet soon now that a way has been found to remove the name of Chris Collins from the ballot in the race for the NY-27 congressional seat.

Collins dropped out of the race after being arrested Aug. 3 for alleged insider trading. He is charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.

Dick Siebert, the Genesee County chair for the GOP, said he can't disclose any details and that he doesn't even know all of the details.

"I received a call from a source in Erie County and was led to believe that we will get Collins' name off the ballot with the opportunity to replace him with another candidate," Siebert said.

Siebert doesn't know yet when the GOP chairs will meet to discuss this latest development or pick a replacement candidate.

Both the Democrats and the Reform Party have candidates in the race. Nate McMurray, the Democrat, has issued statements blasting the Republicans for any attempt to remove Collins from the ballot and Larry Piegza has issued statements arguing he is the logical pick for the GOP chairs since he's a Trump supporter. Piegza has expressed frustration that none of the GOP chairs will even return his calls.

There are at least eight people vying for the GOP selection, including Batavia's own Steve Hawley, whom Siebert said he favors.

Whatever scheme the Republicans use to remove Collins from the ballot, the Democrats have vowed to fight it in the courts.

September 11, 2018 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, the Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District, released the following statement after Congressman Chris Collins broke his silence one month after suspending his campaign when he was indicted on charges of insider trading.

“Tonight voters heard from a man who has lost the public trust. Congressman Collins played the victim, has refused to resign from Congress and tonight expressed surprise that the rules do, in fact, apply to him.

“Mr. Collins admitted that this ballot bait and switch, ‘has never been done before’ and there’s a very clear reason: it’s undemocratic, it’s wrong, it’s insulting to voters, and it’s a joke. Most importantly, it’s illegal and will not stand. Our laws exist for a reason and party bosses don’t get to change them just because their candidate was indicted.

“The truth is that Mr. Collins is willing to be a sham candidate, willing to dupe voters by running for whatever position these kingmaking ‘powers that be’ can manipulate the easiest.

 “I’ve been crisscrossing the district and talking to the voters Mr. Collins pledged to represent and the truth is that they’re angry, they feel betrayed, and they don’t want to trust the system that knew about these allegations and propped up Mr. Collins anyway.”

In other NY-27 news, the deputy chief of staff for Collins, Michael Kracker, has resigned and taken a job with Unshackle Upstate as executive director.

September 7, 2018 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

The House Ethics Committee has announced it will convene a special panel to investigate Rep. Chris Collins and his alleged insider trading activities as a member of Congress.

The investigation will be led by Rep. Mimi Walters, a Republican from California but will not begin until federal criminal proceedings against Collins have run their course.

Collins was arrested Aug. 3 and accused of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.

The Erie County businessman is accused of calling his son, Cameron Collins, with a stock tip after receiving word, as a member of the board of Innate Innate Immunotherapeutics, that a drug under development to treat secondary multiple sclerosis had failed a key clinical trial.

After receiving the call, according to Federal documents, Cameron began selling his holdings in Innate after receiving the call but before the news of the failed trail had been released to the public, as well as calling other friends and family to share the news with them. As a result, the group of stockholders reportedly sold off more than 1.4 million shares of stock.

According to House rules, the Ethics Committee must open an investigation anytime a member of Congress is arrested. Politico reported its unusual for the committee, which is controlled by Republicans, to announce an investigation so close to mid-term elections.

The committee will also investigate Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican representing Eastern San Diego County, including El Cajon. Hunter is accused, like his father, who held the same seat for 21 years prior to his son, of using campaign funds for personal expenses. Collins and Hunter where the first two members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump during the GOP primaries.

September 4, 2018 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

img_0304mcmurray.jpg

Nate McMurray thinks the president should take a positive interest in his campaign for Congress.

After Donald J. Trump sent out a highly controversial tweet yesterday blasting his attorney general for prosecuting criminal cases against Rep. Chris Collins and Rep. Duncan Hunter, McMurray responded with two tweets of his own. 

Hey, @potus popular? Around here @RepChrisCollins is about as popular as Lyme Disease. You need to pick better friends, maybe someone who actually has a clue about helping working families...Call me.

The Batavian asked, via text message, for McMurray to clarify his statement, McMurray said, "Just like I said. He's picking the wrong people. The wrong policies. If the President is really interested in helping the people here, and not just talking about it, I want him to be successful."

He then added, "I can help."

Collins was arrested by federal agents a month ago on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and lying to the FBI. The NY-27 representative is accused of disclosing to his son confidential information about Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd. Collins served on the board of directors in 2017 and was notified in June of that year that a key clinical trial had failed. The call by Collins to Cameron Collins allegedly sparked a series of stock trades where Cameron, other family members, and associates dumped 1.4 million shares of the company's stock.

Hunter (who represents the eastern part of San Diego County, including El Cajon, filling a seat once held by his father) is accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses (a non-criminal accusation also levied in 1989 against his father). 

Contrary to Trump's claim in his tweet, neither investigation began during the Obama years. Both investigations started after Trump became president. In fact, the trigger for the investigation into Collins was Cameron's highly suspicious pattern of trades in June 2017, which led to investigators discovering the phone call made by Collins from the lawn of the Trump White House.

Two days after vowing to fight the charges and remain in the campaign for reelection at a press conference where he refused to take questions, Collins suspended his campaign. He promised to cooperate in an effort to get his name off the November ballot. So far, the eight GOP county chairs of the NY-27 haven't announced how they intend to get Collins off the ballot and there's even doubt among the chairs that it can be done.

The presidential tweet about the Collins arrest also prompted a press release from McMurray. He wrote:

“President Trump just acknowledged what we all know: what was long considered a slam-dunk election for Congressman Collins is now in doubt and the reasoning is clear – Congressman Collins spent more time worrying about making millions for his buddies than he did helping working families in Western New York,” McMurray said.

“The FBI finally confirmed what so many of us in Western New York know – that the system is corrupt. Now the same party officials that knew of Congressman Collins’ conduct want to fool voters into believing that they can pull a bait and switch to put someone new on the ballot. They want a mulligan. This isn’t democracy, this is fraud and the voters I meet as I crisscross the district won’t stand for it.

“I’m putting party politics aside to stand up for the working men and women of Western New York. I was proud to stand with many of them this Labor Day and I’ll be proud to work on their behalf in Congress.”

On Twitter, McMurray often portrays himself as fighting for the middle-class, working families of Western New York; however, where he aligns with Trump on issues is hard to say.

In a July 14 Tweet, McMurray he said:

Later in the month, he was critical of Collins' support of Trump's trade agenda, tweeting

TARIFFS ARE TAXES. My opponent supports them. I support smart trade, leveraging our strength to gain access to key foreign markets. We need to sell to more people. We don’t need to put up a barrier to the world and hide.

However, an email exchange with The Batavian on July 30, McMurray said Trump was 100 percent right in his assertion that the U.S. is being taken advantage of by trading partners. The Batavian had asked McMurray if he would seek the aid from the Koch Network, which is backing Democrats this cycle who support free trade. McMurray said he wouldn't, citing his agreement with the president that the world is taking advantage of the United States.

"We can’t bury our head in the sand," McMurray said. "We need to engage with the world. We just can’t do it the way we have done it, by getting taken advantage of and being willing to leverage our bargaining power."

One of the fears or Trump-supporting Republicans is that if the Democrats win control of the House in the mid-term elections, they will quickly move to impeach Donald Trump. McMurray has indicated on social media that he is not an automatic vote for impeachment.

 

McMurray has campaigned across the district since the arrest of Collins but has completely skipped over Genesee County during the past four weeks. Yesterday, he missed the Labor Daze parade in Oakfield.

Trump's Labor Day tweet has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats as an attack on the criminal justice system and an attempt to subvert the rule of law.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who presented Genesee County in Congress before losing her seat to Collins in 2012 joined the chorus of boos this morning.

August 29, 2018 - 8:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

There has yet to be another meeting scheduled of GOP chairs in the New York 27th Congressional District and Genesee County's GOP chairman, Dick Siebert, isn't feeling overly optimistic that the chairs will find a way to get the name of Chris Collins off the November ballot.

Collins, the two-term congressman for the NY-27, suspended his campaign a month ago after being arrested by federal authorities for allegedly providing an illegal stock tip to his son, Cameron Collins.

"I’ve got of got a feeling that he’s not coming off the ballot but what do I know," Siebert said. "How it looks at this stage is, he’s on the ballot."

Siebert hasn't heard anything from the other chairs since the eight of them from the district met with potential candidates to replace Collins a week ago. 

There have apparently been attempts to find a ballot line for Collins in a more diminutive seat in a town in Erie County, but as the Clarence Bee reports, those efforts aren't being embraced by local town officials.

Siebert said he isn't surprised.

"He’s pretty toxic," Siebert said. "I’m sure some town boards wouldn’t want anything to do with this."

All of that wrangling, though, Siebert said, is for others to worry about. Collins said he will cooperate with any effort to get his name removed from the NY-27 ballot, which Siebert said he is counting on, and then it's up to the attorneys to figure out how to do it in a way that will withstand a legal challenge by Democrats. As far as Siebert's concerned, the only job of the GOP chairs is to pick a replacement for Collins if his name is removed.

"If we do anything, let's find the best candidate, at least," Siebert said. "Let's try to find the best one if the opportunity presents itself and if it doesn't, well, then, we did our best to try and be ready."

There are reportedly still eight GOP hopefuls. Siebert noted that only one remains from Genesee County, Steve Hawley.

"I've lost two candidates, (David) Bellavia and (Mike) Ranzenhofer but I've still got one candidate and I think highly of him," Siebert said. "I thought Steve and Ranzenhofer both did very well and were both very highly rated by our group."

While Ranzenhofer has withdrawn his name from consideration, Hawley told The Batavian yesterday that he's waiting for the process to play out, at least for now.

August 15, 2018 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, news.

Press release:

The Democratic Committee Chairs of the eight counties that make up NY-27 conferred together last night by conference call as their GOP counterparts met and failed to concoct a way to get Chris Collins off the November ballot.

After their conversation, the Democrats of the district reaffirmed that there was no legitimate way to change candidates now. Any attempt to do so would be a fraud against the voters of this district.

"Just like Chris Collins believed that rules against insider trading did not apply to him, local Republican bosses seem to think that election law doesn't apply to them when it suddenly becomes inconvenient," said Cindy Appleton, the Democratic chair of Wyoming County. "They don't get to do a do-over months after the deadline for changing the congressional ballot has passed, even if the man they insisted on being their candidate inconveniently got arrested and faces up to 150 years in jail."

The Ontario County Democratic Committee Chair John Hurley pointed out that the GOP bosses were all in for Chris Collins until a week ago, despite the fact that Collins was already under a congressional ethics investigation because of his questionable financial dealings. They ignored pointed critiques of his conduct, such as those launched by the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY 25), and did everything possible to smooth the path for Collins' reelection campaign.

"There were all sorts of red flags being raised about Collins, but GOP bosses didn't care," Hurley said. "They had a choice, remember. Frank Smierciak II submitted petition signatures to run in a Republican primary, and they succeeded in getting him thrown off the primary ballot to benefit Collins. They also tried to run an obvious fake Green Party candidate to split the anti-Collins vote, a move they didn't get away with."

Hurley added, "they won't get away with this move, either. They don't just get to change the ballot that was set under the rules because it now suits them. It's blatantly clear that they only care about Chris Collins' ethical issues this week because he got caught last week."

Jeremy Zellner, the Erie County Democratic chair, said that there were good reasons that the GOP hadn't yet been able to announce any way of removing Collins from the ballot.

"They're flailing," Zellner said. "There isn't a legitimate path to do what they want to do, so they keep telling us they're going to get him taken off, but they haven't been able to tell us how yet."

Zellner went on to say that there is case law that states that candidates can't simply move out of state and get off the ballot.

"It didn't work for Tom DeLay after he was indicted in 2006, and it won't work for Chris Collins when he was indicted in 2018," Zellner said.

He also noted that the town of Clarence where Collins resides has no local offices up for election this year, so that Republican bosses would have to force a current town officeholder to retire just to create a vacancy for an accused criminal -- who would be unlikely to have any real interest in serving in that smaller office -- to run for.

"And they can't just put him up for some office somewhere else," Zellner said. "He's under multiple indictments He has no interest in these other positions. It's dishonest and disgraceful."

Judith Hunter, the Livingston County chair, declared, "Nate McMurray played by the rules and will be our candidate in November. The Republicans are trying all kinds of backroom maneuvers to ditch a suddenly vulnerable candidate who has become embarrassing for them. That doesn't change the fact that he is the candidate they chose and cleared the way for.

"And it doesn't change the fact that election law is clear that the deadline for changing the federal ballot has passed. They can parade people they might desperately prefer to accused criminal Chris Collins in front of the press, but they can't ignore the law."

August 15, 2018 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

nicklangworthybataviadowns2018.jpg

Republicans are confident they can ensure the name of Rep. Chris Collins is not on the November general election ballot, Erie County Chairman Nick Langworthy said Tuesday night after a closed-door meeting of the eight GOP chairs in the NY-27 at Batavia Downs.

He didn't say, however, how the might get the task done. He went no further than promising that Collins, in the midst of fighting federal allegations that he engaged in insider stock trading, will cooperate with whatever method the party tries to implement. 

"We have communicated back and forth through his team but I have not directly personally spoken to him," Langworthy said. "We are confident there are mechanisms in place where his name can be removed from the ballot and we can nominate a new candidate."

Collins didn't face a challenger in the June 26 primary for the NY-27 but he committed to the race at an even earlier date. Once petitions were gathered, he had until April 16 to decline the nomination and the party had until April 24 to fill the vacancy.

Three Methods to Remove Name from Ballot

That leaves three methods to remove his name from the November ballot: Disqualification by means of accepting another office, moving out of state, or death.

Collins reportedly has residential property in Florida he could declare his legal domicile and there are potentially town-level offices in Erie County with a vacancy he could fill.

Either move will almost certainly be challenged in court by the Democrats.

“The GOP chairs are in a very bad position," said Todd Aldinger, an Albany-based attorney who has researched the relevant law and served as chairman of the Erie County Charter Revision Commission and was Senator Patrick Gallivan’s legislative director.

"They will either have to rely on constitutionally dubious means to remove Collins from the ballot or will have to utilize provisions of the election law to circumvent the normal nomination procedure by nominating Collins for a manufactured vacancy, which a court may find to be void against public policy.”

In favor of the GOP effort to remove Collins is a 2008 case in the NY-26 race, which at the time included Genesee County. In the Matter of Kryzan v New York State Bd. of ElectionsJon Powers had won the Working Families Party line and Alice Kryzan was the Democratic nominee. Powers then moved out of state and after the ballot certification deadline Powers sought to have his name removed from the ballot and the WFP wanted to replace his name with Kryzan. A court ruled Power's name could be removed from the ballot and replaced by Kryzan.

That decision was later overturned because absentee voting had already started.A federal court ruled those voters who already received their ballots would be disenfranchised if Kryzan's name replaced Powers on the ballot.

The November ballot won't be certified until Sept. 13. Military ballots will go out in the mail Sept. 21. The GOP will, presumably, have until then to win any legal battle with the Democrats or they lose the fight and potentially the war.

To counter any GOP maneuver -- declaring Collins a resident of another state or appointing him to a dog catcher position in Erie County -- the Democrats might be able to counter that such a move has been made in bad faith or to circumvent the normal nomination process.

The relevant case law, however, isn't on point with this set of circumstances and has apparently not been tested before.

"We are very confident, consulting with what are some of the best election lawyers in the State of New York, that there are mechanisms in place to remove Congressman Collins from the ballot," Langworthy said.

Even before Langworthy met with the press outside of Batavia Downs, Michael Plitt, chairman of the Genesee County Democratic Committee, was texting The Batavian to decry the GOP chairman's efforts to remove Collins from the ballot.

"The GOP already picked their candidate, Chris Collins," Plitt said. "There are no do-overs. Petitions are in. Collins will be on the ballot. The GOP knew Collins had an ethics investigation."

That's a similar line of attack the Democratic nominee, Nate McMurray, is taking in tweets and news interviews.

Democrats Call for Accountability

"I think these guys should be held accountable," McMurray told The Hill. "They shouldn't be able to hit reset or take a mulligan. If they try to get him to run for another office, I will call it out for what it is: a fraud upon the United States."

While the statutory feathers fly, the eight GOP chairs of the NY-27 are moving ahead with the process of handpicking a new candidate. At one point, at least 15 people had expressed an interest in the seat but Tuesday night, Langworthy indicated the winnowing process has already begun. He said he expects there will be some more informal interviews to help determine who gets a chance to sit down with all eight county chairs and lobby for the nomination.

Those interviews will take place next week.

"We were handed the extraordinary situation that you know we're not happy to find ourselves in, but we have to work through it," Langworthy said. "We have to work together. We have to work collaboratively and we need to nominate a candidate that can succeed in all eight counties to deliver a victory in November."

The public won't be part of the committee process and voting will be weighted, which means Langworthy, representing Erie County, will have the biggest say in who potentially could appear on the R line in November.

It's a momentous selection.

Michael Caputo, a GOP political consultant, and nationally known Trump ally, told The Batavian just before news broke that Collins was withdrawing from the race, that the very future of the presidency may hinge on what happens in the NY-27.

"It may boil down to one or two seats," Caputo said. "If we lose control of the house, there will be impeachment proceedings, no doubt about it."

Erie County GOP's Questionable Candidates

Erie County, however, doesn't have a strong track record when it comes to picking representatives for the GLOW region.

Rep. Bill Paxon's career ended after he helped lead a failed attempt to oust Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House. Rep. Tom Reynolds didn't run for reelection after his name was linked to a couple of scandals in the House. Rep. Chris Lee posted a bare-chested picture of himself on Craigslist. Assemblywoman Jane Corwin lost a race generally thought to be hers to lose.

And now Chris Collins, federally indicted on counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI. Collins was allegedly the tip of a tipping tree where he provided the crucial tidbit of bad news that caused his son, and eight other associates, to dump millions of shares of Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited before the Australia-based company publicly announced its only product, a drug to treat secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, had failed its critical medical trial.

Collins said he's not guilty.

Langworthy said none of the GOP chairs have expressed any dissatisfaction with the process that has led to this string of questionable GOP candidates being foisted on GLOW.

"I think it's a matter of the party rules," Langworthy said. "I think we work collaboratively. We're working together. Many of the candidates now hail from the GLOW region, so I didn't hear any sort of problems from any of the chairs here tonight about them."

Whoever gets the pick will instantly become the front-runner in a district that tilts +22 for Republicans, and barring the winner getting caught with his shirt off or making ill-advised stock trades, he is likely being appointed to the seat for life. The Batavian asked Langworthy if a process of eight men in a room, denying both candidates and voters the normal primary process to fill a vacancy, is the right process to follow.

"I'm going to ask you, do you think we want to be in the situation right now?" Langworthy said.

The Batavian asked, "is it fair?"

"I think it's a bush league question you asked," Langworthy said.

"So you don't want to answer it."

Langworthy: 'We Don't Want to Be Here.'

Langworthy responded, "I've already addressed this. We find ourselves in an extraordinary situation. We don't want to be here. This is a sad and unfortunate time for us. We are doing the best we can with the election law as it exists at this late date."

The choice for the chairs includes inexperienced candidates, candidates who have run a race but not won, or a slate of current office holders who would be forced to vacate a ballot line creating a new legal challenge for the party.

"I'll let you all decide who you think the front-runners are," Langworthy told the gaggle of assembled reporters from throughout the region. "We have a process to maintain. We have to continue to work together.

"You know there are candidates from throughout this district that represent different portions of this district. We're all dedicated the same thing, which is finding a conservative Republican candidate that can win this district and help President Trump achieve his agenda.

A bit later Langworthy said: "We need we need a candidate that we can all get behind in eight counties (who) can be out there meeting the voters, talking about the important issues. I mean it's a very geographically diverse district.

"I mean, you have cities, you have suburban towns, you also have a lot of rural and agricultural areas, so you have a lot of different types of people who (need to) get up to speed on federal issues. Even if they're a state official, they might not understand the federal ramifications. Those are things that we have to hit the ground running on very, very quickly."

It will be such a difficult race in such a compressed time frame that Langworthy doesn't think it's the place for novices to enter.

"I personally think that this is probably not the time for a completely new candidate, someone that doesn't understand the political process or maybe hasn't been a part of an election before in a big league level," Langworthy said. "I don't think there's a lot of time for a learning curve for a first-timer that hasn't been through the process."

White House Weighs in on Selection 

Langworthy also revealed that the White House is weighing in on the selection process.

"We're in consultation," Langworthy said. "Yesterday I had a meeting with the White House political director to discuss this race. We have been in discussions with the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. They are very concerned about the future of the seat. They want to make sure it stays in Republican hands."

Whoever gets the nod from the eight chairs, Langworthy said he hopes to attract Trump to WNY to campaign for the candidate.

"I came from Utica yesterday where I saw President Trump come in for a Congresswoman Tenny," Langworthy said. "It's a very hot seat and I know they raised an awful lot of funds in a short window. It was only a one week lead-up to the event and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there showing their support and writing checks to support the congresswoman. I would love to see that sort of enthusiasm with a presidential visit."

August 14, 2018 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, Larry Piegza, news.

Press release:

Now that Chris Collins has withdrawn in the NY 27th District race, Larry Piegza is demanding to be considered for the Republican, Independent and Conservative Party endorsements. He has already earned the endorsement of the Reform Party in the June primary and is now looking to secure the other nominations as well.

“I’ve been trying to get support from the Republican Committees in this district since November and they won’t return my call. Even now that Chris Collins has been arrested they still won’t give me an interview. This is just another example of the corrupt, pay-for-play Republican committees not caring about their district.

“The District’s GOP establishment failed to admit that Collins was a criminal in the first place. Then also tried their failed election scam of getting the fake Green Party candidate Michael Zak on the ballot. I think it’s time that we voters demand an open process for choosing Collins’ replacement instead of letting the corrupt establishment tell us which crony we have to vote for next.

"I am only one of two candidates chosen by the fair election process and have already stated that I am willing to give up my entire congressional salary if I get elected. Instead of endorsing me, they are jumping through legal hoops to try to get their next establishment crony on the ballot. The voters don’t want a rigged election. If we are going to Make America Great Again, we have got to really drain the swamp at the district level as well," Piegza said.

August 11, 2018 - 6:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, news, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Chris Collins’ decision to suspend his campaign is good news for New York State and good news for America. This will be a trying time for him and his family but the era of corruption he represents must come to an end.

"This tragic tale is yet another example of how a corrupt party machine has consistently betrayed the people of the 27th Congressional District," Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray said today.

“It’s absolutely true that Chris Collins should not be running for this or any other seat, a fact that the local Republican Party knew full well when they endorsed and celebrated him while he was under investigation for securities fraud,” McMurray said.

“And now the same machine that relentlessly attacked me for daring to question Mr. Collins’ record is attempting to get rid of him while gaming the system in order to hold on to a seat they can no longer win,” McMurray said. “New Yorkers and Americans are sick of this kind of charade and they are right to be.

“And it is a continuing disgrace that both parties have not said, with one clear voice, 'resign, Mr. Collins, and do it today.’ Well, let me do it for them: Mr. Collins, a suspension is one thing but it is time for you to resign. Do it today.”

McMurray said that Collins’ arrest earlier this week on insider trading charges has brought attention to a race and a region previously overlooked by national media and political insiders.

“Pundits who a week ago couldn’t pronounce my name or tell the difference between Hamburg, New York and Hamburg, Germany are now laser-focused on this campaign,” McMurray said.

“But my focus has never wavered. I want to be an independent voice for the people who work two jobs and still struggle to meet their mortgage and their health care bills, the forgotten working and middle-class families who will pay the price for the tax cuts and insider deals that make Chris Collins and his friends rich. I know what it is to struggle, and I want to help others in their struggle as well.

“In a sense, the contest for the 27th has changed dramatically in the past few days but fundamentally the issues are the same,” McMurray said. “It’s still about breaking a failed system that serves itself and putting the power back in the hands of the people. That’s what I have stood for since Day 1, and that’s what I will stand for come January 1 in Washington, D.C.”

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