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Larry Piegza

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 11, 2018 - 1:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Larry Piegza, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

The Reform Party Candidate, Larry Piegza, announces he is willing to take Chris Collins' spot in the McMurray/Collins debate.

"Chris Collins obviously has more pressing legal issues than to explain to the voters in NY-27 how he intends to represent us," Piegza sent in a statement. "Fortunately, there are still two candidates on the ballot that are prepared to represent our district.

"Nate McMurray, I accept your #DebateNate Challenge. If the Buffalo News is still willing to host it, I am still game. Collins can come if he can get time away from preparing for his trial. I am sure that the voters would love to hear how he plans to represent our district if he is convicted and serving jail time."

A pro-Trump Republican, Piegza has been unsuccessfully pushing the local Republican offices to only endorse ethical candidates for the last 12 months. He earned the Reform Party's endorsement in June. In the past, the Reform Party has always endorsed Collins, but they broke from it this year when they learned about the fact that Collins might have broken the law.

"Kudos to the Reform Party for only supporting candidates who are more ethically sound," Piegza said. "And it really paid off. If they hadn't stepped up an endorsed me, the people in the district would have had to choose between voting for a possible criminal and a Democrat.

"I would have been curious to see how many people actually voted in November. Now, they can vote for an ethical conservative who supports all of Trump's agenda. In addition, I plan to use an online town hall so the people in the district can always tell me what their needs are. That means I will be able to do a better job of keeping in touch with everyone than Collins did."

Piegza has tried unsuccessfully to debate McMurray in the past. In the weeks following Collins' indictment, his campaign aired 30-second commercials on WBEN accepting his #DebateNate challenge. These were ignored by the McMurray campaign.

Now, it appears that McMurray is changing his mind. In a Facebook post on Oct. 10, 2018, McMurray played off of the "Fix It Larry" moniker McMurray has used for his website (FixItLarry.org) and said that McMurray should be calling for a debate.

"BANG THAT HAMMER! Democracy needs some noise." In the post, McMurray also proposes to set up an empty chair for Collins.

"This is a welcome surprise," Piegza said. "I thought that I would finally get a chance to debate Nate at the forum at SUNY Geneseo, but apparently McMurray isn't attending. I am glad to see he isn't avoiding me."

As for the empty chair, Piegza says, "Collins might feel more comfortable if we swap the chair out for a prison bench."

September 22, 2018 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry Piegza, NY-27.

Press release:

“Everyone knows Chris Collins will not do a good job representing NY27 from a jail cell. He is not going to care about getting a great Farm Bill or making the middle-class tax cuts permanent while contemplating up to a 150-year jail sentence,” Larry Piegza said.

“Republicans who want to vote for an ethical pro-Trump candidate should vote NY Reform Party this year. I have offered to give my congressional salary to charity after I pay for my Washington, D.C., expenses just because I want to show voters that I am not in this for the money.”

The NY Reform Party chose to break from tradition this year and not endorse Chris Collins due to the fact that the Office of Congressional Ethics had “substantial reason to believe” that he had broken the law. Collins was found to have tried to pass legislation in Congress designed to help his company, Innate Immunotherapeutics.

This turned out to be a sound decision as Collins was arrested on a different charge related insider trading concerning the same company.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a quarter of the Republican Party votes Reform Party in this district this year," stated Charlie Flynn of the Reform Party selection process before Collins’ arrest. "We have the better conservative candidate.”

Recently, Piegza spoke on NPR with Evan Dawson and at “Left, Right and Center,” a political discussion group at the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church. After this appearance, he has seen donations to his campaign pick up. His campaign currently has $220,000 available, double the amount that the Democrat Nate McMurray has on hand. He anticipates that that number will grow if he can get either candidate to debate him.

“I understand why Chris Collins won’t debate me, he has to prepare for his trial and never met with his district since he took office," Piegza said. "What I can’t figure out why Nate seems to have changed from his #DebateNate stance to #NeverDebate.

"I offered to debate him in Batavia two weeks ago. Some reporter should ask him why he won’t. This is an interesting contrast to the fact that I am advocating for an online town hall, where residents can contact me 24/7.”

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 8, 2018 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry Piegza, chris collins, NY-27, Reform Party.

Press release:

Larry Piegza, Reform Party candidate for the NY-27 Congressional District, had this to say about today's news that his opponent Chris Collins was arrested. 

"Over the past year, I've been sounding the alarm that Chris Collins has broken the law. Rather than risk getting a Democrat elected, I knew we needed to get another conservative, Pro-2nd Amendment, pro-business entrepreneur on the ballot. Collins's arrest today confirms what I knew all along about Chris Collins.

"The great news is, the voters in NY 27 still have a conservative option on the ballot this November. If elected, I plan to protect gun rights and balance the budget. I will put our farms and small businesses first. I will caucus with Republicans – traditional fiscal conservatives.”

An entrepreneur who has lived in Western New York his entire life, Piegza is the owner of Gap Technologies Inc., a company that develops software for colleges and universities. Gap is also developing a new product, eDemocracy.us, a virtual town hall platform for congressional representatives.

Over the last 15 years, Piegza has raised his business from the ground up with no debt and steady growth.

"Many people are asking if I still plan on donating my congressional salary to charity if I get elected, and my answer is still 'Yes!' I'm not running for office for the money. I am running because I want to work hard for the community I've lived in for my entire life. Everyone knows we need to drain the swamp – not just as a catchy campaign slogan – but we really need to do it. And we aren't going to be able to do it if we don't get qualified candidates in office."

In the past, the Reform Party has always endorsed Chris Collins. They broke from that this year when allegations against the congressman were revealed.

"The Reform Party has long believed in reforming the political and electoral process, eliminating corruption and special interest control of governmental policies, and returning more power to the people, " said Charlie Flynn, head of the Reform selection committee.

"The Reform Party advocates for term limits for congressman and judges, instant run off voting, and mechanisms for a more direct democracy. The partisan fighting in Congress this year has disgusted many people. People want a balanced budget, not a circus show."

Piegza also endorsed by Unite America, a group that advocates for a three party system.

For information on Piegza giving up his congressional salary, please see:

https://edemocracy.us/disclosures
 
Campaign Website:
http://FixItLarry.org
 
The Reform Party Website:
https://www.nyreformparty.com/
 
Unite America's Website:
https://www.uniteamerica.org

 

April 20, 2018 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry Piegza, NY-27, news.

Press release:

The Erie County Reform Party is proud to announce the endorsement of Larry Piegza who looks to unseat Chris Collins in New York’s Congressional District 27. Piegza, a Western New York native and entrepreneur, originally announced that he was running as a Republican candidate last November.

“I originally hoped to inspire the Republican Party to change direction and focus on balancing our budget, streamlining our government and promoting ethical leadership.” Piegza said. “But the party is no longer interested in these goals.

"The Republican Leadership is not holding Chris Collins to account for his insider trading scandal and the fact that he keeps voting to balloon our deficit. My campaign is to give conservatives a chance to revolutionize our government. If we want to drain the swamp, a good place to start is with Chris Collins.”

The Reform Party has long believed in reforming the political and electoral process, eliminating corruption and special interest control of policy-making government in order to return more power to the people. It advocates for term limits for congressman and judges, instant runoff voting, and mechanisms for more direct democracy.

“The fighting in Congress this year has disgusted many people; people want a balanced budget, not a circus show," said Charlie Flynn, head of the selection committee. "When we decided to endorse Larry, I knew that the Republican Party is truly splitting.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if half of the Party votes for our candidate this year. We have the more ethical conservative candidate."

The fact that Piezga is an underdog in this race doesn’t seem to bother him.

“I am truly honored by the Reform Party’s decision to endorse my candidacy,” Piegza said. “Our nation is going to need strong third-party candidates if we are going to hold Congress accountable to their districts.”

To learn more about Piegza and his campaign for New York Congressional District 27, visit FixItLarry.org. Additionally, consider supporting the campaign by donating $5, $10, or $27.

December 15, 2017 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Larry Piegza, news.

Press release:

“I don’t know how to fix all of our problems, but anyone can tell you that if you are about to remodel an old house, the first thing you should do is replace any rotten boards,” "Fix It" Larry Piegza says. “People are saying that the Republican Party is not the same party (as) it was 20 years ago and many people feel that Chris Collins is part of the problem.

"He doesn’t stand for the basic values moral Republicans believe in, nor does he put New York first. He is not making our health insurance affordable. We are drowning in taxes and Collins just voted on a tax bill that raises NYS residents’ taxes. Let’s start our remodel today.”

Fix It Larry Piegza began his campaign to run for the Republican nomination for New York State’s 27th Congressional District with the launch of FixItLarry.org. A computer-technician-turned-entrepreneur, he started a small software business in his attic with $10,000. He feels he is a great candidate because he sees firsthand how tough it is for small businesses to survive under government regulation.

Despite this, he has a 15-year track record of growing his company with no deficit spending. The company now employees 25 people. He feels that Western New Yorkers will benefit from his good decision-making skills and his strong desire for a balanced budget – both for New York state and the country.

“Many people are saying we’ve drifted from believing in good fiscal responsibility, ethical values, and a government that stays out of our lives. People are saying they’d like to see us return to these values. I’ve shown that I can make good fiscal decisions that aren’t at the expense of another person. I’d love to help restore the party to a strong ethical foundation,” his Facebook page states.

A West Seneca native, Larry went to Orchard Park schools and has lived in Western New York his entire life. Married for 19 years to a graduate of Pembroke High School, Larry has a daughter, 13 and a son, 15, that he likes to take outdoors year round, from sledding at Chestnut Ridge, hiking in Letchworth State Park, or visiting his in-laws in Batavia.

“This is a beautiful area and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But we need a change in leadership if Western New Yorkers are going to survive,” Fix It Larry says. “Raising NYS taxes will not help New Yorkers. Voting to repeal without replacing our health care will not help us survive. The GOP is endorsing pedophiles, which is not a Christian value, and therefore Chris Collins needs to go.”

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