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Nate McMurray

In Election Day voting, Jacobs trounces competition with tens of thousands of absentee ballots yet to be counted

By Howard B. Owens

In walk-in voting on Election Day in Genesee County, Chris Jacobs far outpolled his opponents in the special election race to fill the vacant NY-27 race, getting 4,536 votes in the unofficial tally to 1,565 for Nate McMurray and 155 for Duane Whitmer.

Jacobs has declared victory in the NY-27 race and McMurray has said that with far more absentee ballots to be counted than were cast on election day it's premature to say who won and who lost the race.

In the GOP primary for the same seat, Jacobs received 2,473 votes from Genesee County residents to 1,099 for Darien resident Beth Parlato and 340 votes for Stefan Mychajliw.

Districtwide, the Buffalo News reports that Jacobs garnered 70 percent of the walk-in votes to 28 percent for McMurray and has a 30,639 vote lead with 65,509 absentee ballots to be counted.

That count could take a week or more but the Jacobs campaign contends it is mathematically impossible for McMurray to close the gap.

In the GOP primary, Jacobs currently has 25,668 votes to 8,644 for Parlato and 7,190 votes for Mychajliw.

Jacobs, McMurray, and Mychajliw have all issued statements about the election results. We've not received a statement yet from Parlato nor Whitmer.


Chris Jacobs has declared victory in the Special and Republican Primary for New York’s 27th Congressional District and is releasing the following statement: 

“We did it, it has been a long, challenging and ever-changing election, nevertheless the people of Western New York made their voices heard overwhelmingly for strong, conservative leadership! With the commanding lead I have amassed; I am confident in declaring victory in both the Special and Primary elections.

"Now I am looking forward to getting to Congress and getting right to work fighting alongside our great President for the people of Western New York. I would like to thank all the volunteers, supporters, party leaders, and elected officials who have worked so hard to make this happen, and I would especially like to thank President Trump for his early and consistent support throughout this entire election, I am deeply grateful.”


Tonight, with thousands of ballots left unopened across the 27th Congressional District, millionaire Chris Jacobs declared a premature victory. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a historic number of absentee and mail-in ballots still need to be counted. Absentee counting in most counties will not start until July 1st, and likely won't be completed for at least two weeks. 

 “How can you declare victory before the ballots are counted?” Nate McMurray said on Tuesday night. “There are more ballots still out there, uncounted, than people that voted in-person today. As we have always said, we will fight for every single vote. Chris always wanted to be crowned. The coronation will have to wait. They had to bring the whole Trump family into this to help drag him across the finish line. He can peacock. We will talk in two weeks.”


Congressional candidate Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. released the following statement on the New York 27th Congressional District election results:

“I called Chris Jacobs a few minutes ago to congratulate him on his victory in the Republican Primary. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received in this race. We said it was important to let voters decide, and they have. While not victorious, I’m proud of the race we ran. We stayed above the fray, and ran a positive campaign on the issues. I’m a loyal Republican – always have been, always will be. Just like I have in the past, I will work hard to keep NY-27 in Republican hands in November."

UPDATE: Statement from Parlato:

"I got in this race to give every voter in NY-27 a choice, and that is exactly what we did. Although not victorious, I am grateful for each and every vote, prayer and supporter. We ran a tough campaign, and I’m proud of all that were involved. I look forward to campaigning for President Trump as we fight harder than ever to protect our freedoms and conservative values."

Nate McMurray says one of his opponents lies about him in campaign commercial

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Politifact, a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and candidates, announced today that Chris Jacobs’ most recent TV ad is entirely false. The ad repeats a set of lies first put forward by Chris Collins about Nate McMurray. In particular, the ad claims that McMurray sent American jobs to Asia and China, which is entirely not true.

“I can’t believe this man has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this false message, the same false message first put forward by Chris Collins. He’s doubling down on those dated lies. This ad must be effective, but what does it say about Jacobs’ judgment that he would so openly lie to get elected?” McMurray said.

Instead of talking about the critical issues that matter, like creating jobs, Jacobs seems concerned with only one issue: lying about and slandering his opponent. Instead of lies, McMurray has talked throughout this campaign season about expanding healthcare and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

McMurray's press release did not contain a link to the fact-checking site. Below are links to pages fact-checking both McMurray and Jacobs, finding a mixture of false and true statements for both candidates.

Erie County DA says he feels his office was 'used' in filing of complaint against Chris Jacobs

By Howard B. Owens

During a press conference in Buffalo today, while announcing he was not pursuing criminal charges against congressional candidate Chris Jacobs, Erie County DA John Flynn "called out" the anonymous person who filed a complaint against Jacobs for alleged "voter fraud."

"There is no doubt that I'm being used here to a certain extent," Flynn said. "I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, you know. I've been around for a long time. I've seen a lot of things. When I feel like I'm being used, I feel like someone is, put John Flynn aside, someone is using the District Attorney of Erie County and that bothers me a lot."

Flynn declined to name the complainant but said the complainant's failure to identify him or herself is once the complaint was made public -- through an anonymous tip to a Buffalo TV station -- didn't sit well with him.

"I think it's pretty weak that you won't let anyone know who you are," Flynn said. "I'm going to say that publicly and I know the person won't want to hear it and I say, 'too bad.'"

The person who made the complaint called Flynn directly, he said, and then Flynn's staff and that person's attorney exchanged emails about the allegations.

After reviewing the allegations, Flynn decided not to file charges against Jacobs.

The person making the complaint alleged that Jacobs circulated petitions last summer using an address for an Orchard Park house he had made a deposit on but had not yet purchased. If that were a crime, Flynn said, it would be offering a false instrument for filing. And if it were a crime, Flynn said, it would be outside his jurisdiction because the petitions were filed in Albany.

The two other allegations against Jacobs were that he registered to vote at the Orchard Park address on Sept. 3 but didn't close escrow on the property until the end of September. Then, he used that address as his voting address on Nov. 5 while maintaining another residence in Buffalo.

Flynn said Jacobs came into Flynn's office voluntarily and shared with the DA paperwork and information about maintaining two households. He purchased the house in Orchard Park and invested a substantial amount of money in renovations while also continuing to pay utilities on that residence. Meanwhile, after the pandemic hit, Jacobs decided to spend more time in Buffalo where he could be closer to his mother and assist her during the pandemic lockdown.

He said the evidence undercuts any claim that Jacobs might have had an intent to defraud anybody therefore his actions were not criminal.

"Under election law, it is legal to have two residences," Flynn said. "It was Jacobs who voluntarily came into my office and voluntarily gave me the whole story, he readily admitted he owns two homes, readily admitted during COVID-19 crisis he lived more so at home in Buffalo because his mother lives near him and he wanted to stay close by and help his mother

"He readily admitted he spent more time at his buffalo address," Flynn added. "That is not a crime. It is not a crime to have two residences. There is nothing the in law that says you have to live at one resident X-number of days or X-number of hours to have that declared as your residence."

Because Jacobs invested a substantial amount of money in the other house and because he has continued to pay the utility bills there, there is no "aura of a sham," which would be necessary, he said, to prove an election fraud case.

Jacobs issued the following statement following the announcement:

Chris Jacobs is releasing the following statement in response to DA Flynn’s dropping of the false complaint.

“I want to thank D.A. Flynn for his swift dismissal of Beth Parlato’s phony complaint. And I further want to thank D.A. Flynn for allowing me to come in of my own volition and present him with complete documentation that completely disproves these attacks from Beth Parlato.” 

“It’s now clear Beth Parlato orchestrated this stunt and abused the justice system solely as a political attack and to run a negative television attack ad. It’s shameful, but not surprising. Beth Parlato must immediately take down her false, negative ads. The voters of Western New York are a lot smarter than Beth Parlato thinks and I suspect they will reject her and her nasty, negative campaign on Tuesday.” 

The Batavian offered Beth Parlato a chance to respond to the Jacobs' allegation that she was behind the complaint and got no response to our email request.

Hours after news of a complaint was filed, Parlato released a campaign commercial that accused Jacobs was the subject of a criminal investigation. She also included the same accusation in a press release sent to The Batavian yesterday. There was no criminal investigation, as Flynn revealed today.

Parlato has not issued a statement regarding Flynn's decision to drop the complaint.

Stefan Mychajliw:

“My initial statement on this matter is just as relevant Thursday as it is today: the District Attorney and voters will pass final judgment on Chris Jacobs. Judgment has been passed by the District Attorney. Now, voters will decide for themselves who will be the Republican nominee for New York’s 27th Congressional District in November. Nevertheless, it is troubling to just now find out from the District Attorney that Chris Jacobs admittedly does not live in the 27th Congressional District."

Nate McMurray:

“It is concerning that in a day a complaint of voter and election fraud of a Congressional candidate and State Senator can be dropped, so quickly. No one knew about this until the local news reported it yesterday. Yet here we are, everything resolved with a 5:00 p.m. press conference on a Friday the weekend before an election--just hours after a visit from Jacobs and his attorneys,” said McMurray. 

“If only justice worked so swiftly for regular people, and not just people who can afford the best attorneys. I will tell you this, regardless of what loophole he used, what he did was meant to mislead. He knows. But the people of Western New York, most of us never get a break. Chris? He gets all the breaks,” said McMurray.

Speaking of misleading, McMurray posted this tweet this evening:

Months ago, pre COVID, I sat down with @howardowens for an hour long, no cut interview.

Jacobs refused.

— Nate McMurray for Congress 2020 (@Nate_McMurray) June 20, 2020

Jacobs did not refuse an interview with The Batavian. Jacobs, like McMurray, Parlato, Duane Whitmer, and Mychajliw, all participated in interviews.

NY-27 Candidate Interviews: Nate McMurray

By Howard B. Owens
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The Batavian interviewed candidates for NY-27 both in the special election and in the GOP primary.

Our original plan was to interview Chris Jacobs, Nate McMurray, and Duane Whitmer, running in the special election originally scheduled for April and later interview the GOP candidates.

With that in mind, we interviewed McMurray in February at the Richmond Memorial Library. Then the pandemic hit before we could schedule the next interviews. We were unable to return to the project until late May, early June, at a time when interviews could only be conducted remotely.

Outside of this different setting, we strove to conduct the interviews in a similar style. The goal of the interviews is to try and uncover the political philosophies of the candidates and how that affects their thinking on some big issues.

This is the interview with Nate McMurray.

Jacobs, opponents for NY-27 wrangle over his residency last time he voted

By Howard B. Owens

Opponents of Chris Jacobs, the state senator from Erie County running for the vacated NY-27 congressional seat in a special election Tuesday, and in a GOP primary for the same seat on the same day, have jumped on news reports accusing Jacobs of registering to vote and voting at a residence in Orchard Park that he did not own and was not living in at the time.

The house is his current residence.

A spokeswoman for the Erie County District Attorney's Office confirmed this evening that the office did receive a complaint about Jacobs but said, in reference to a FOIL request for documents, the office had "no documents responsive to the request."

While one of Jacobs' opponents said Jacobs was now the subject of a "criminal investigation," the spokeswoman indicated there was no such investigation currently but that the matter was "under review."

Nate McMurray, running against Jacobs in the NY-27 special election, and Beth Parlato and Stefan Mychajliw., running against Jacobs in the GOP primary, all issued statements attacking Jacobs for "voter fraud."

Jacobs, in turn, called the attacks, "a desperate political stunt."  

Here are his statement and the statements of the other three candidates.


"This is nothing more than a desperate political stunt made by someone who is about to lose an election. My wife and I went under contract to purchase our home in Orchard Park on June 17th of 2019 and closed on our home on September 30 of 2019.

Desperate attacks by political opponents are not surprising – sadly they have become a standard part of politics.

We are grateful to the thousands of volunteers and supporters who have helped put us in position for a victory on Tuesday and we are looking forward to getting to work for the people of Western New York.”


“Chris Jacobs said Chris Collins would be ineffective due to the criminal investigation hanging over him. With a pending investigation by the Erie County District Attorney into potential criminal misconduct, Chris Jacobs should apply his own standard to himself. The District Attorney will pass judgement upon Chris Jacobs, and so will voters in Tuesday's Primary Election."


"I got in this race 11 months ago because we cannot trust career politicians.

Chris Lee resigned in disgrace. Chris Collins resigned in disgrace and is heading to prison. Now, Chris Jacobs has not even made it to Congress yet, and he is under criminal investigation.

The last thing we need is another career politician embarrassing our district and bringing shame to the hardworking, honorable people of NY-27. We deserve better.

We need to bring integrity back to this seat.

I am calling on Chris to put the people first, to do what is right, and remove his name from both the special election and primary ballots."


Western New Yorkers were shocked to learn endorsed Republican candidate for the NY- 27 Congressional District Chris Jacobs was called out for alleged voter and election fraud.

The Erie County District Attorney received a complaint against Jacobs including the following allegations: that Jacobs was registered to vote in the Orchard Park District before owning his home, that he voted from the newly registered home less than 30 days before owning the home, and that he filed primary residence documents that he lived within the 27th District before doing so.

Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray joined Republican candidate Beth Parlato in calling for Jacobs to pull out of the race.

“After so much corruption here on the 27th, we now have another endorsed Republican candidate who appears to be lying to the voters already. He has high paid consultants. This was no accident. It’s fraud.

The people of this district cannot afford another entitled and detached millionaire. He’s proving he’s nothing more than that, and he shouldn’t be in office. I call on Chris Jacobs to do the right thing and drop out of this race,” said Nate McMurray.

McMurray says Jacobs ads are contradictory and confused

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

“Jacobs' new ad tries to portray me as some outsourcing tycoon when his previous ads tried to portray me as a socialist," McMurray said. "Chris is confused. Which am I? I guess we should just accept that Chris — as a Democrat who became a Trump-loving Republican — overnight, is always confused."

The McMurray team points out that Jacobs, despite having spent over a million dollars already on his campaign, has never talked about expanding healthcare, protecting social security, or building our infrastructure in any of his ads.

He is not interested in improving the lives of Western New Yorkers. He’s interested in lying about McMurray, calling Beth Parlato “nasty,” and trying to scare people about foreigners — first Mexicans now Asians, just like Chris Collins did.

What we should really be scared about is Jacobs' record.

“Jacobs has done nothing, despite years in office, to help working people," McMurray said. "He has been a shill going so far to hide campaign funds on the state level, paving the way for companies like Delaware North to fund these political aspirations.

"And who is Delaware North? His family's company. A company that really has outsourced thousands and thousands of jobs to Asia by cutting staff in Buffalo and hiring people in India for a fraction of the price. Look it up. Don’t be fooled."

VIDEO: Nate McMurray Get Out The Vote Rally in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
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Nate McMurray notified supporters in Genesee County that he would be at City Hall this afternoon for a get out the vote rally. A reporter and photographer from The New York Times were there to cover it.

McMurray expresses concern about whether voters are receiving requested ballots

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, Congressional candidate Nate McMurray voiced his continued concerns about ballot integrity and voter suppression after the first weekend of early voting came to a close in New York’s 27th District.

McMurray’s campaign has established a hotline with the New York Democratic Lawyers Committee to continue to address the issues on behalf of voters. 

“We are getting reports that people are not getting absentee ballots they applied for and should have received by now, and some are being told to just go vote in person," McMurray said. "The problem is many are very worried about voting in person because of the health risks.

"That’s why the Governor originally expanded voting by absentee ballot. Now here we are just days from when absentee ballots must be postmarked by, and voters receiving them last minute will be under pressure to turn them around overnight wondering if their vote will even be counted”

Further, the locations of early voting polling sites had not been made readily available in all places. In particular, the Erie County Board of Elections failed to even post a list of early voting locations until McMurray brought a lawsuit compelling the Board of Elections to take action. Still, many are showing up to their usual polling location confused because they received no notice by mail.

“I’m not saying there is deliberate malice, but the result will lead to fewer people going to the polls because of widespread confusion," McMurray said. "And of course, it’s not just the voters who are struggling. Board of Elections employees across NY27 are exhausted and have little outside help.

"It is our duty to protect access to the ballot and elections integrity during this public health crisis. Every voter should have received their ballot by now and have basic confidence in the process, and the sad truth is, they haven’t."

Voters who are experiencing any issues voting by absentee or obtaining early voting information please contact: NYS Democratic Lawyers Council Voter Protection Hotline: ​(585) 213-1710, or email:​

McMurray claims to 'dominate' WIVB congressional debate that didn't include all candidates

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Congressional Candidates Nate McMurray and Chris Jacobs went head to head Tuesday night in the highly anticipated debate hosted by WIVB News Channel 4.

The poll results today confirmed that viewers agree that McMurray won the debate in a landslide.

Tuesday evening highlighted McMurray’s strong resume and stances on the issues most pressing to Western New Yorkers and confirmed voters’ concerns that Jacobs is unfit to represent their needs in Washington after years of being deprived of real leadership in NY-27.

While Jacobs dodged any question as to whether he’d hold the current administration accountable and resorted to rehearsed, partisan rhetoric, McMurray repeatedly stated he’d stand up to anyone in Washington, from President Trump to Speaker Pelosi, in order to fight for the needs of the struggling families across Western New York and the country.

Both Jacobs and McMurray agreed the CARES act and federal loan program for small businesses were critical to help companies stay afloat, but Jacobs claimed the unemployment figures had improved and that the economy is fundamentally strong, to which McMurray rebutted in disbelief noting greater Buffalo has one of the worst job markets in the country.

McMurray condemned Trump’s tax cuts citing the wealthiest Americans and corporations, like Jacobs’ family and their multibillion-dollar empire, are the ones who have received the majority of benefits.

“The people at the top have already benefited from a tax cut that 83 percent of the benefits went to 1 percent of the people," McMurray said. "That’s wrong. He doesn’t understand what average people are going through. That’s why he thinks the economy is good.

"But for most people in Western New York, it ain’t so good. You [Jacobs] have been a State Senator for years, what have you done to improve things?”

NOTE: Duane Whitmer, Libertarian Party candidate for the NY-27, was excluded from the debate.

Jacobs campaign issues statement attacking McMurray following televised debate

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

“Last night, Western New Yorkers saw two vastly different candidates with two vastly different views of America and the choice is clear. Chris Jacobs will support our law enforcement, secure our borders, and fight for our small businesses to grow the economy. Nate McMurray's socialist proposals would raise taxes, make our cities and towns less safe, and threaten the constitutional rights of every New Yorker. Western New Yorkers who want to ensure President Trump has an ally in Congress and our region need to get out and vote for Chris Jacobs on June 23rd.”

-- Christian Chase, Communications Director -- Jacobs for Congress

NOTE: Libertarian Party Candidate Duane Whitmer was excluded from the debate.

Former congressional rep Kathy Hochul endorses Nate McMurray

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced her endorsement of Nate McMurray for the Special Election on June 23rd. Hochul represented this district from 2011-2012 after winning a special election to fill the seat prior to redistricting in 2012. 

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “I believe Nate McMurray will be successful based on the Democratic values he espouses and his track record advocating for the working families and farmers that make up this region.

"I know this district well and am confident that Nate will be a strong representative for all Western New Yorkers when he gets to Washington. We have a critical opportunity on June 23rd to send a national message to Trump and GOP insiders before the General election in November.” 

“I’m very proud to have Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul's support once again," McMurray said. "Kathy Hochul has long been a champion for women and families across New York. I look forward to getting to work in Washington and partnering with public servants like her to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and all Americans."

Jacobs highlights Parlato's 'negative' campaign

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

As first reported by the Buffalo News, the Republican chairs in the 27th District have demanded that Beth Parlato “suspend (her) negative campaign and promote your own candidacy rather than viciously attacking others." (Buffalo News, 5/13/20

“GOP leaders say they imposed one requirement on candidates interviewing for the 27th Congressional District seat back in January: refrain from attacks on fellow Republicans. Now those same chairmen from the district's eight counties accuse Beth A. Parlato, the family law attorney competing in the June 23rd Republican primary, of breaking her promise with "nasty, negative" mailings and television ads aimed at Christopher L. Jacobs…” (Buffalo News, 5/13/20

“…party leaders say Parlato's jabs at Jacobs could threaten his efforts to win a special election against Democrat Nate McMurray..” (Buffalo News, 5/13/20

" 'We respectfully ask that you keep your commitment to run a positive campaign that avoids dividing the vote and potentially costing the Republican Party a member of Congress in the special election,' the leaders told Parlato. 'Please suspend your negative campaign and promote your own candidacy rather than viciously attacking others.' The letter is signed by all eight leaders of the district's Republican committees."(Buffalo News, 5/13/20)

“Republican chairs in the district said by running those ads, Parlato is squelching on a promise she made during the special election candidate nomination process.” (Spectrum News, 5/14/20

“Ontario County Republican Chairwoman Trisha Turner, speaking for the leaders' group, said Wednesday she is 'deeply offended' by the Parlato efforts and insists they represent a broken promise.” (Buffalo News, 5/13/20)

" 'No one's ever told her to get out, not to run, just not to do something that would be destructive to a special election and she committed to that and she's broken that commitment,' Turner says.” (Spectrum News, 5/14/20)

…"You pay people a lot of money to create that kind of negative imagery," Turner said, adding that attacks against a fellow Republican competing against McMurray at the same time as the primary are inappropriate. Turner also noted Parlato's earlier criticism of Robert G. Ortt, the North Tonawanda state senator who dropped out of the race after losing the party nod to Jacobs and whom Turner originally supported.” (Buffalo News, 5/13/20)

One county chair described Parlato’s negative campaign as “the continuation of a destructive behavior pattern for her own self-promotion,” and said it seems “like she's working with Nate McMurray." (Buffalo News, 5/13/20)

Parlato's ads draw fire from GOP chairs, Chris Jacobs, and support from McMurray

By Howard B. Owens

Press release from Chris Jacobs campaign:

As first reported yesterday by the Buffalo News, all eight Republican chairs in the 27th District have signed a letter to Parlato demanding she “suspend your negative campaign and promote your own candidacy rather than viciously attacking others."

Parlato’s attack ads have been described as “negative” and “nasty.”

“Beth Parlato gave her word last year not to run a negative campaign and not to work to split the vote to hand our congressional seat to a liberal Democrat. Now she’s broken that pledge. We shouldn’t be surprised. Throughout this campaign Beth Parlato has done nothing but attack other candidates, first Rob Ortt and now Chris Jacobs. This is the mark of a desperate candidate. We will not let Beth Parlato succeed in her effort to elect a liberal Democrat to our seat in Congress.”  - Christian Chase, Jacobs for Congress

Press release from Nate McMurray campaign:

“Do the same good old boys network of party bosses and insiders that brought shame to Western NY by fighting for and electing disgraced former Congressman Chris Lee and Chris Collins really expect NY-27 to fall in line...again? They have no credibility. Their attacks on Parlato show weakness, sexism, and hypocrisy.  

"The party machine’s double standard here is laughable. Where were the fainting couches and tissues when Jacobs' aired his lying, racist attack ads against me, which Politifact debunked. And let’s not forget who they really fawn over: Trump. The man whose whole political identity is based on nastiness and name-calling. 

"I don’t agree with Beth Parlato on pretty much anything, but I like how she’s standing up to these bullies. Democracy is not a coronation, and these self-appointed kingmakers need to be humbled. They’re scared of me, but they might be more scared of her. Jacobs’ billions can buy the love of party bosses, but it can’t buy backbone. NY-27 might finally have the people’s showdown in November,” said Nate McMurray.

McMurray calls on Congress to pass increased funding for rural broadband

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today Nate McMurray, Democrat running in the special election to fill the Congressional vacancy left when Republican Chris Collins went to jail in NY-27, urged Congress to invest $86 billion in broadband funding in the future COVID-19 response legislation. And he is calling on the Republican candidates to pledge their support or explain why rural New York doesn’t deserve the same access to broadband as Wall Street and New York City.

In 2018, 65 percent of District 27 did not have access to high-speed internet. While New York ranks 4th in connectivity in the country, America is still 30th in mobile speeds and 10th in internet speeds overall. Despite this clear need, McMurray’s opponent in the special election, billionaire Chris Jacobs, has made no progress during his time in the State Senate to bring broadband to working families in Western New York.

McMurray has pledged to expand federal funding to secure broadband for everyone in NY-27, not only to establish better internet but to foster technological prowess, business capabilities, and regional success. 

“Our local internet is slow, even nonexistent in rural areas in NY27, and the pandemic has highlighted our need," McMurray said. "Our national internet on average is far below other industrialized countries. We rank about 10th overall and 30th in mobile speeds, near Romania and the Czech Republic. How is that acceptable?

"America is the place that invented the Internet. We were first. This is the home of Silicon Valley. We should not be 30th. It’s not about Netflix. It’s about better education, more business opportunities, and our future.

"We can’t continue to allow ourselves to be used by monopolistic cable companies that provide substandard service and deprive so many access all. I urge Congress to support expanded funding to ensure that Americans who need broadband service will remain connected during this public health crisis and recovery.”

“As your representative, I will never give up on building infrastructure, for broadband, for our future. May our light and intelligence, the talents of a million minds, flow once again from our region like our famous canal, like a sunburst — talents diversified find vent in myriad forms. Let’s embrace, and build, broadband. Now."

Other candidates finding it difficult to keep pace with fundraising, and self-funding, of Chris Jacobs

By Howard B. Owens

When she first jumped into the race for the NY-27 congressional seat, Darien resident Beth Parlato got off to a fast start in fundraising from individual donors.

She raised $271,000 in eight weeks. Her campaign coffers now stand at $554,153.62, which includes some PAC money and a personal loan but so far that isn't half of the $1,253,465.46 Chris Jacobs has in his campaign account.

Parlato said she knows what she's up against in trying to win a congressional seat against a candidate who can afford to drop $446,000 of his own money into his quest for a seat in D.C. So when the novel coronavirus swept through New York and she was forced to cancel five fundraisers, Parlato took what she thought was the next most sensible route to keep her effort financed. She borrowed $150,000 against her property on Seven Day Road.

That loan, which she turned around and loaned to her campaign, promoted a reader to contact The Batavian and suggest the loan violated Federal Election Commission rules.

At first blush, based on language on the FEC site, that might seem true.

When a candidate obtains a bank loan for use in connection with his or her campaign, the loan is considered to be from the bank and not from the candidate's personal funds.

However, two experts in campaign finance interviewed by The Batavian for this story said Parlato's use of money obtained from a second mortgage to make a personal campaign loan is legal.

"It's her personal money," said Paul Cole, a Republican who was once heavily involved in WNY politics, working for Tom Reynolds and Chris Lee before running David Bellavia's 2012 primary campaign. He is not currently involved with any congressional campaign.

"She's going to be personally responsible for paying back that banknote regardless of what happens in terms of the campaign," Cole said. "She's going to have to pay back that loan."

While the campaign, if it raises enough money, can repay the loan to Parlato, if the campaign for any reason can't raise enough money to pay back the loan, Cole said Parlato is still personally responsible to repay the money to the bank.

Michael E. Toner, an election law attorney in Washington, D.C., also said it is legal for a candidate to take out a second mortgage on his or her own property and then loan that money for a loan to his or her campaign.

A footnote on the FEC site also indicates such a loan is permissible:

The personal funds of a candidate include: Assets which the candidate has a legal right of access to or control over, and which he or she has legal title to or an equitable interest in, at the time of candidacy ...

Parlato, who is endorsed by the Conservative Party and is running the GOP primary, has raised $376,691 from individual contributors. She collected another $11,000 from political action committees.

Jacobs, the endorsed Republican in the special election and also a candidate in the primary, has raised $720,856 from individual contributors. He's also raised -- from PACs, other congressional campaigns, and corporations -- $85,699.

The other Republican in the race is Stefan Mychajliw, who has raised $75,576. He's loaned his campaign $465.

Democrat Nate McMurray, running in both the special election and unopposed in the Democratic primary, has raised $527,886. He's received more than $30,000 from PACs and has not loaned his campaign any money.

The Libertarian candidate is Duane Whitmer, who has raised more than $20,000, half of which comes from a loan from himself to his campaign.

CORRECTION:  Parlato is not a candidate in the special election, as previously stated.

McMurray calls for national plan for COVID-19 testing

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, Nate McMurray, candidate for U.S. Congress in NY-27, called on President Trump’s administration to adopt a national COVID-19 response plan that would test, track and treat across all 50 states.

McMurray also criticized his opponent State Senator Chris Jacobs for his lack of leadership in the midst of the pandemic following a WBEN interview on  Sunday, where Jacobs downplayed the need for widely available, comprehensive testing.  

“The President must follow-through on his March 6th promise to provide tests for all Americans; to date, only 1 percent of the nation has been tested and national laboratories are citing critical funding and material shortages to produce more tests," McMurray said. "It is un-American to leave states without support in this unprecedented crisis as the death toll continues to rise.

"We need a unified strategy if we’re going to beat this thing together; not 50 different strategies that leave our families unnecessarily vulnerable, and prolong us reopening the economy in a sustainable way. Meanwhile, Chris Jacobs is dangerously laxed over the urgency of the situation and pandering to the President because he’s afraid to put party politics aside to fight for the safety of Western New Yorkers."

According to the COVID Tracking Project, last week the country performed about 860,000 tests but experts say millions of tests per week are needed. While states like California and Oregon have rolled out plans that include widespread testing as a prerequisite for reopening, there is no comprehensive national plan or guidelines in place. 

“We failed to implement widespread testing as a country months ago, which only keeps American families from getting back to work," McMurray said. "Jacobs can personally afford to ignore the urgency here and vote against COVID-19 funding like he recently did in the State Senate because, unlike so many living in NY-27, he has access to quality health care and cannot relate to someone who would need paid sick leave.

"We absolutely cannot continue to wing this. We need a national, Marshall plan that summons the mighty power of this nation. Countries with much less affluence and technological advantage are far out-performing the United States in response to this pandemic."

McMurray supports the following: 

1) Expanding the capacity to conduct rapid same-day testing for everyone with COVID-19 symptoms. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be fully engaged to ensure all states have access to testing and required testing materials.

2) Ensuring tests are free. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor should oversee this effort and be the point of contact for patients that were charged for a test. 

3) Strengthening the testing supply chain to incentivize the production of testing supplies and PPE for our healthcare workers within the United States and require HHS and FEMA to conduct weekly reporting about potential shortages.

4) Implementing surveillance (test & trace) systems nationwide and enabling the CDC to provide COVID-19 surveillance grants, which will allow states flexibility in how they achieve test & trace of samples of the population, and identify small outbreaks early, especially in populations where there is a higher risk of contracting or transmitting the virus.

McMurray claims to out fundraise Jacobs

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Nate McMurray, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in NY-27, outraised opponent Chris Jacobs in the first FEC filing of 2020. Despite the challenge of fundraising during the pandemic, McMurray’s momentum continues to swell.

The campaign attracted more than 15 times the number of donors (1,683 total donors) than the Jacobs campaign (110 total donors). Sixty-three percent of McMurray’s quarter one donors live within the 27th Congressional District and 80 percent live in New York State. 

“Jacobs wrote his campaign a check for nearly half a million dollars and had the Jacobs family empire funneling him support so that he could get his racist attack ads up against me a couple months ago," McMurray said. "Thousands of struggling New Yorkers responded loud and clear by sacrificing their hard-earned money during a national crisis to stand with our grassroots campaign and reject partisan politics as usual.

"Everyday Americans have clearly had enough of detached millionaires like convicted Chris Collins buying congressional seats for personal gain while they are barely making ends meet. While my opponent voted to deny vulnerable New York families paid sick leave during this unprecedented pandemic, our campaign team made 50,000 phone calls to NY-27 families to check in on them and make sure they had access to the resources available to them during this national disaster.

"The people of this district have been without real representation for years; the outpouring of support from so many Western New Yorkers to send me to Washington is, in large part, because they know I will fight for all of them, regardless of party affiliation.”

McMurray calls on Jacobs to denounce McConnell's statement on state bankruptcies

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, Nate McMurray, candidate for U.S. Congress in the June 23 special election in NY-27, condemned U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for holding hostage critically needed aid for New Yorkers, and called on opponent Chris Jacobs to do the same.

“Even the idea of the federal government turning their back on states during the biggest healthcare crisis in U.S. history is unfathomable and should infuriate all of us, regardless of party affiliation," McMurray said. "This is not ‘free money’, it exists to serve the American people and to ensure they are able to receive everyday critical services like those provided by our First Responders and school districts here in Western New York.”

The U.S. Senate, under McConnell’s leadership, rejected essential funding for state and local governments in the latest emergency relief bill this week. McConnell said he’d favor states’ declaring bankruptcy over providing additional federal aid to states facing catastrophic budget gaps during the COVID-19 crisis.

“New York invests $116 billion dollars into the federal government, and the people of the 27th deserve their fair share as they struggle to make ends meet, now more than ever," McMurray said.

"As a sitting NYS Senator, Chris Jacobs should know this better than most, but I’m not holding my breath for him to buck his party line and stand up for what’s right after he recently voted against providing New Yorkers paid sick leave during the pandemic. The people of NY-27 have gone years without real, independent leadership; they cannot afford to be abandoned by the government in their darkest hour."

Gillibrand endorses McMurray for NY-27

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her endorsement of Nate McMurray for the Special Election in NY-27. 

"I'm proud to endorse Nate McMurray for New York's 27th Congressional District," Senator Gillibrand said. "Now more than ever, we need independent leaders in Washington who will fight for everyday Americans over corporate special interests. Nate's extensive domestic and international business experience and record of expanding economic opportunities to create jobs will be critical to rebuilding Upstate New York in the difficult months ahead."  

“I’m incredibly honored to have Senator Gillibrand’s support for our campaign,” McMurray said. “She has paved the way in the fight for working families on everything from pay equity to advocating for critical support for rural communities in Western New York. I Iook forward to working with the Senator to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and all Americans once we win the Special Election on June 23rd.”

McMurray denounces appointment of Michael Caputo to White House post

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Yesterday, President Trump named political strategist and Republican campaign veteran Michael Caputo as the spokesperson of Health and Human Services. Caputo is a Western New York native, where he has engaged in years of misinformation, lies and political deceit in public relations positions locally and in Russia.

Up until very recently, Caputo was a registered agent of a foreign power. He will now represent the agency protecting the health of Americans during a national crisis -- despite no personal public health or executive experience.

Nate McMurray, the Democratic candidate for the NY-27 congressional district, said: “We know Caputo here. He’s the guy lying on local talk radio making up stories and attending Steve Bannon rallies. He’s the guy putting up billboards honoring disgraced Congressman Chris Collins, and begging people to vote for Collins.

"He is a prankster not a statesman and it’s important to make that clear, because appointing him to a position like this during a crisis is beyond reckless; it represents malice toward America.”

McMurray calls upon all candidates for the Special Election for NY-27 to denounce the appointment of Caputo at this critical time. He especially denotes the budding relationship between Jacobs and Caputo.

McMurray added, “Jacobs joined in with Trump’s local posse because he wants power. He will go along with anything for that power. That is why he voted against COVID-19 sick pay. That is why he followed Caputo’s lead and shared false stories about the Governor stealing ventilators from our hospitals.

"Jacobs should change course now because he may find out real quick what I am afraid the American people will find out soon enough; Caputo will betray you in a heartbeat if it helps him.”

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