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November 18, 2019 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news.

Press release:

With the majority of the weighted vote, county chairs across NY-27 have expressed their readiness to secure Nate McMurray as the candidate to run on the Democratic line when the Governor calls the special election to replace Chris Collins. He has earned support from the Democratic chairs of Niagara, Wyoming, Monroe, Genesee, Orleans, Ontario and Livingston counties. These committees carry a combined total of 51 percent of the weighted vote for the nomination.
Committees across the district have gained members in record numbers after McMurray’s run in 2018 - with committees more than doubling their membership in majority-Republican counties.
“I am tremendously proud to earn the support of these Democratic leaders across Western New York," McMurray said. "The strength of our Democratic Party is the power in all its communities, urban, suburban and rural. As I've traveled the backroads and small towns of these counties for the past two years, I know that families are struggling and looking for new leadership on the issues they care about most – ending corruption, expanding healthcare, lowering taxes for middle-class families, and bringing back good jobs. Together, we can bring true representation for this region to Congress and I am ready to be the fighter our families, farmers and small businesses need."
“Nate did well in Niagara County last year against a strong political machine and has a lot of grassroots support throughout much of the county," said Niagara County Democratic Committee Chair Jason Zona. " As county chair, I support him in a special election run, and I anticipate the members of our county committee will do so as well when we convene in the near future."
"When Nate McMurray ran in NY-27 in 2018, he came within less than a percentage point of victory," said Wyoming County Democratic Committee Chair Cynthia Appleton. "But along with this, he did something else, something magical. He energized the rural counties. He created a movement on the ground that hasn't gone away. Nate asked them all to ‘Fight Like Hell’, they did, and will again. I'm proud to endorse him for a special election in NY-27."
“The Monroe County Democratic Committee is proud to join Nate to finish the fight he began in 2018 for the 27th Congressional District," said Monroe County Democratic Committee Chair Brittaney Wells. "We are confident he will fight for the hard-working people of the district who have long been without a voice. Nate will restore integrity to the office and ensure his constituents are heard."
Genesee Democratic County Committee Chair Michael Plitt said, “Genesee County Democrats are excited to help Nate McMurray finish the job he started last year. Our volunteers worked tirelessly and will do so again because they believe in Nate and his message. Voters in Batavia crossed party lines for him and the city went blue for the first time in years. We believe our government should work for all people, not just the elite; and we are confident Nate will be the representative we all deserve.”
“I am so pleased to support Nate in the upcoming special election," said Orleans County Democratic County Committee Chair Jeanne Crane. "He has visited Orleans County many times and is very aware of what our small county faces every day...few jobs, lack of affordable housing, and high taxes. We need NATE!”
“We need a fighter like Nate McMurray in Congress,” said Ontario Democratic Chair John Hurley. “He had record turnout here in 2018, and we are ready to build on it in 2020. Nate has traveled across our county, meeting with people and hearing their stories. From combatting the opioid crisis to creating jobs, Nate is the leader we can count on to deliver for us.”
“Given how close Nate came in 2018, we are thrilled to have him running for us this cycle," said Livingston Democratic County Committee Chair Judith Hunter. "It’s been too long since the people of NY-27 have had a representative that puts service over self, and people over politics. We are delighted to support him again."

November 11, 2019 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, running in the Special Election in NY-27, has received additional endorsements from local leaders today, including Genesee County Democratic Committee Vice-Chair Nikki Calhoun and Batavia Democratic Committee Chair Erica O’Donnell. They join six Democratic County Chairs in endorsing McMurray.

"Last year showed us that local Democrats and Republicans can work together for the common good of our communities. Nate McMurry brought people together by listening and adjusting his ideas for the future of NY27. He has shown us that he has what it takes to Fight Like Hell and I am proud to say I stand behind him!" said Nikki Calhoun.

“Democrats in The City of Batavia are used to being written off when it comes to national politics, but Nate McMurray embraced our grassroots enthusiasm, showed up here, and actually won the City of Batavia by nearly 500 votes. That’s why I will stand behind Nate in our upcoming special election in New York’s 27th Congressional District,” said Erica O'Donnell.

“I am proud to have Nikki and Erica’s support as I run for Congress. Genesee and Batavia were tremendously important in 2018, and I will be working hard to build on our support there in 2020. I am ready to be a leader this region can count on in Congress,” said McMurray.

Genesee Democratic County Committee Chair Michael Plitt endorsed McMurray over the weekend, saying, “Genesee County Democrats are excited to help Nate McMurray finish the job he started last year. Our volunteers worked tirelessly and will do so again because they believe in Nate and his message. Voters in Batavia crossed party lines for him and the city went blue for the first time in years. We believe our government should work for all people, not just the elite; and we are confident Nate will be the representative we all deserve.”

November 10, 2019 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Nate McMurray, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, running in the Special Election in NY-27, has been endorsed by Genesee County Democratic Chair Michael Plitt. He has also been endorsed by the Democratic chairs of Niagara, Wyoming, and Monroe counties.

"Genesee County Democrats are excited to help Nate McMurray finish the job he started last year," Plitt said. "Our volunteers worked tirelessly and will do so again because they believe in Nate and his message.

"Voters in Batavia crossed party lines for him and the city went blue for the first time in years. We believe our government should work for all people, not just the elite; and we are confident Nate will be the representative we all deserve."

“I am proud to have the support of Michael Plitt and the Genesee County Democrats as I run for Congress," McMurray said. "Across Genesee, and across Western New York as a whole, families are struggling to make ends meet and our lack of representation in Washington is not helping. I will fight for the healthcare access and jobs our region needs."

October 31, 2019 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Rob Ortt, news.

Press release from the NY-27 campaign of Sen. Rob Ortt:

“Today’s house resolution vote was nothing more than a partisan attack on a sitting president going into the 2020 election.

The only platform of Democrats is, and for the last three years has been, impeaching President Trump.

This vote only serves as a distraction from the fact that Democrats have not done anything for middle-class Americans.

These types of actions do nothing but further separate an already divided nation and create animosity amongst everyday Americans.

I am running for Congress to help put an end to this partisan witch hunt, and help our President do the job the American people elected him to do.”

October 20, 2019 - 8:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, NY-27, news.


Today, Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia issued a statement confirming that he will not seek the NY-27 congressional seat, endings months of speculation in political circles about his plans.

“I am formally announcing I will not run for Congress in the 27th District of New York in the upcoming Special Election. My service to our great community and country is unwavering, but I have a new responsibility to the U.S. Army. The Medal of Honor recognition is providing me with an incredible opportunity to serve at a level not thought possible just a few months ago. I am traveling the country, as an ambassador for Western New York, educating and influencing future soldiers and fellow citizens, as well as training and advising military leadership.
"Acting upon my long-standing and sincere desire to run for Congress at this time would require me to set aside pre-existing commitments I have made to my Army, my family, and those with whom I do business. I have carefully considered the needs and advice of party leadership and those closest to me and I am extremely thankful and forever humbled by the overwhelming support from Western New York.
"Go Bills! Go Sabres!” 

Bellavia ran for the seat in the 2012 primary and lost to Chris Collins, who resigned office three weeks ago in conjunction with his guilty plea on federal insider trading charges.

Currently, Bellavia is traveling and is unavailable for further comment.

It's expected that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will call a special election at which point GOP candidates will likely be interviewed by the seven GOP county committee chairs in the district and the chairs will select a candidate for the special election ballot.

That wouldn't preclude any candidate from any party running on a third-party line, as Jack Davis did in 2011 after Chris Lee resigned. Bellavia endorsed Davis in that race and Kathy Hochul beat the handpicked GOP candidate, Jane Corwin.

Assuming there is a special election, likely April 28, in conjunction with the Democratic presidential primary in New York, there would still be a primary election in June and a general election in November 2020.

After Bellavia won the Medal of Honor, political consultant and Trump ally Michael Caputo started a Draft David Bellavia committee in an effort to show Bellavia that he had the support of voters in the district to run and win the seat. Most political observers considered him a shoo-in to win if he ran.

Caputo issued the following statement:

The 27th Congressional District has the luxury of a wealth of qualified Republican candidates. Our draft team thought David was the best one, but only if it matched his aspirations. We respect his decision and wish him the best the world has to offer. We also look forward to seeing what this new chapter brings in his life of service to our nation.

There are potential candidates for the seat who have been waiting on the sidelines for Bellavia to make his decision, including Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

Hawley issued the following statement:

I have the utmost respect for David and his service to our country. His decision to continue his service as an emissary for the U.S. Army is laudable and honorable. I will continue to weigh my options. I enjoy being an elected representative in Western New York fighting for the values that make our area very special. It’s HOME. 

Mychajliw's statement:

"NY27’s loss is the country’s gain - and I know David will continue to serve our country with honor and excellence in his next role. David deserved the respect and time to make his decision, on his terms, and as I’ve said, I would make a decision once he made his.

One thing I am certain of - with impeachment of President Trump on the line, we cannot let this seat fall into the hands of a pro-choice, Never Trumper who only claims to support the President now that there’s a political promotion on the line. Washington doesn’t need another weak, opportunistic politician - it needs fearless conservatives who will take the fight to the Democrats and stand with President Trump.

Within the next few days, I’ll make a final decision on running in NY-27 to ensure we have a voice that actually fights for conservatives, not one that simply poses as a conservative."

Among the candidates already running is State Sen. Rob Ortt. Here's his statement:

“U.S. Army SSG. David Bellavia is a national hero who will continue to serve our country in a manner that we should all be grateful for. I commend David on his decision to continue representing the Army and for his work founding the Deuce Deuce Relief Fund, and I look forward to working with him in the future to ensure that our veterans are made a priority when returning home from combat. The health and well-being of our veterans are one of the reasons I have chosen to run for Congress, and the need for battle-tested veteran leadership in Washington, D.C. is greater now than ever before.”   

Photo: File photo by Paula Zack of David Bellavia receiving the key to the city from Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski.

October 18, 2019 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Parlato, NY-27, news.

Press release:

This week Beth Parlato, Republican candidate for Congress in New York’s 27th Congressional District, signed U.S. Term Limits’ pledge to support legislation limiting the number of terms a member can serve in Congress.

The former judge and first-time candidate made the news public in a Facebook video in which she proudly declared her support for term limits, differentiating herself from Washington career politicians.

“I’m all for term limits. We need to keep Congress moving and finally get something done,” said Parlato on signing the pledge. “We have members preaching socialism on the left and need more people fighting back from a place of sanity. We can’t elect somebody afraid to rock the status quo. That’s why I’m running.”

“Beth’s support of term limits shows that there are individuals who are willing to put self-interest aside to follow the will of the people. America needs a Congress that will be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians,” said U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel.

Parlato, the only political newcomer in the race, made waves with her impressive first fundraising quarter when she raised more than $270,000 with no fundraising consultants or outside help. Now she is using the momentum of her campaign as a platform to advocate for the serious reforms needed to rid Congress of corruption.

October 10, 2019 - 10:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rob Ortt, NY-27, video.
Video Sponsor

Sen. Rob Ortt, who is also a candidate for congression in the NY-27, spent much of his day in Genesee County on Wednesday, first attending the veterans town hall in Corfu about the new national cemetary, then paying a visit to The Firing Pin in Bergen, and then holding a meet-and-greet at Ken's Charcoal Pits & Bar-B-Q.

The Batavian caught up with Ortt at The Firing Pin.

October 10, 2019 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, running for Congress in NY-27, is calling for Chris Collins, who recently resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI, to return the Congressional salary he has collected since his indictment in August 2018.

McMurray sent a letter to Judge Vernon S. Broderick asking the judge to consider ordering Collins to return his salary and forfeit his pension as a part of sentencing.

While calling Collins’ case “inherently tragic” and expressing sympathy for Collins’ family and victims, McMurray also pointed out that Collins had profited from his deception of voters in his district and deserved to lose his salary as a result.

“Following his guilty plea last week, Mr. Collins has admitted that his actions were in fact illegal; that he knew they were illegal; and that his claims of innocence were false. With his reelection predicated on an admittedly false claim of innocence, I urge that in sentencing, you recognize this fraud on the taxpayers of this nation and the people of New York’s 27th Congressional District and require him, in addition to whatever other penalties you deem appropriate, to repay his salary from the date of his indictment until his resignation and forfeit his taxpayer-funded pension,” McMurray wrote.

After months of proclaiming his innocence, Collins changed his plea to “guilty” last week and admitted in court that he knew what he was doing was illegal.

A copy of McMurray's letter can be seen below:

Honorable Judge Broderick,

I am writing to you to express my thoughts regarding the sentencing of Chris Collins. 

Last year, I ran and lost a race to replace Mr. Collins in the United States House of Representatives. I am proud of that campaign and our opposition to Mr. Collins. I say this to fully disclose any perceived bias or subjectivity. I share my comments with full sincerity and an understanding of the possible consequences of my words. 

First, I want to acknowledge that much about this case is inherently tragic. A district has been denied its due representation in Congress; an individual of great promise, a fellow Eagle Scout no less, betrayed his constituents and will forever have his name tainted; a son followed his father’s request and now stands on the verge of incarceration and a lifetime defined by a criminal act not of his own creation. I have true sympathy for everyone caught up in Mr. Collins’ web of illegal activity and look forward to our district moving on.

Nevertheless, justice must be served, and Mr. Collins’ actions and character must be examined. Following the indictment in August of 2018, Mr. Collins continually lied to voters by proclaiming his innocence and ultimately won re-election. As a member of Congress, Mr. Collins said he worked for his donors—not the people of Batavia, Hamburg, Canandaigua, Warsaw, or the countless other small towns and communities within New York’s 27th District. Following his guilty plea last week, Mr. Collins has admitted that his actions were in fact illegal; that he knew they were illegal; and that his claims of innocence were false. He knowingly abused the trust of the people of Western New York.

I stand with many who are angered by Mr. Collins’ actions, but I find some discomfort celebrating anyone’s demise, even his. However, with his re-election predicated on an admittedly false claim of innocence, I urge that in sentencing, you recognize this fraud on the taxpayers of this nation and the people of New York’s 27th Congressional District and require him, in addition to whatever other penalties you deem appropriate, to repay his salary from the date of his indictment until his resignation and forfeit his taxpayer-funded pension.


Nathan D. McMurray

October 7, 2019 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Frank Smierciak, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Frank C. Smierciak II, a 28-year-old conservative Republican, announced today that he is running for U.S. Congress in New York’s 27th District to bring desperately needed conservative leadership to Washington.

“Our nation is in crisis. For decades we have allowed career politicians, lawyers, and self-interested millionaires to run this country into the ground. We can not afford this destructive cycle any longer. It is time for our voices to be heard. It is time for a private citizen to take the fight to Washington.”

“Our national debt is skyrocketing, Social Security is collapsing, and veterans, the true heroes of our great Republic, die waiting in line for care or languish in homelessness while we spend billions on illegal immigrants. Our elected officials, both Democrat and Republican, have directly facilitated all of these things. They must be held accountable. We need to act now before it is too late.”

“Our politicians claim they understand and identify with what we go through as private citizens but let’s be frank, politicians are isolated from what the average citizen deals with. The Washington Elite are doing nothing to save Social Security because their retirement is taken care of; they do not have the same worries as the rest of us.

"They claim to be on your side, but when push comes to shove, they resort to the same tired tactics of padding their wallets and playing the blame game, stoking the Democrat vs. Republican rivalry. The truth is, the Washington Elite are a unified team that looks out for itself, and the rest of us are on the other team, left standing in the cold, footing the bill for their incompetence.”

“Our nation cannot afford to have another political insider that is elected based solely on the size of their campaign fund and who they know; we need an average citizen, one that faces the same issues as everyone else, and one who will have to deal with the consequences of the actions of the Washington Elite.

"I am proud to be running to represent not only the current residents of the 27th District but to represent all future residents; all of our children and grandchildren will feel the brunt of the inept blundering that has existed in Washington for decades.”

“As a private citizen that makes around the median income for the district, I know what it is like to worry about paying your bills, I know what it’s like to worry about not being able to save enough for the future, and I know what it’s like to fear the age of retirement knowing that years of paying into Social Security will be money wasted.

"We are all to blame for allowing this cycle to continue; I ask that all of you stand with me to bring the reign of the corrupt Washington Elite to a swift end and take one more step toward draining the swamp. Make no mistake, only we private citizens can drain the swamp. Establishment politicians pay lip service to the sentiment of 'drain the swamp' but the reality is, they are the swamp.”

“I believe so strongly that our Republic needs to get back to its roots that I am putting my entire life savings and retirement on the line. I feel it is my patriotic duty to sacrifice my future so that our great nation will continue to have one."

“Unlike career politicians who will promise everything under the sun to get elected, I will only make one promise to those who would support me: I will fight every single day for our shared interests, for the future of this country, for our children, and for our grandchildren, so that the American Dream can be viable for generations to come, and so that our nation will continue to be one founded on liberty, sacrifice and prosperity.”

October 3, 2019 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Parlato, NY-27, news.

Press release:

State and national Republicans, who have vowed to recruit and support more women for public office, may have found their strongest contender just outside of Buffalo.

In just two months, conservative Beth Parlato shattered expectations by raising an astounding $270,000 in her bid to replace Chris Collins in New York’s 27th District.

“I’ve been a part of this community my entire life," Parlato said. "I’m humbled by the generosity and support our campaign has received so far."

Parlato’s fundraising haul is especially impressive because, while traditional sources of Republican funding stayed on the sidelines before Congressman Collins announced his resignation, she managed to unearth an entirely new donor base within the district that had never given to a Congressional candidate before. 

With all of these new Republican donors on her first filing, Parlato has established herself as a firebrand with a unique ability to expand and build out the party. According to the first-time political candidate, she has only just scratched the surface.

“We still have big fundraising events ahead of us so I’m very confident we’ll have the resources to run an aggressive campaign,” she said.

Parlato, a former judge and frequent Fox News contributor, gives Republicans their most credible opportunity to elect a conservative woman to Congress.

“We’re organized, we’re funded and we have tremendous support from our community. That sets us up. I’m conservative and I live in the district. That’s what sets us apart,” noting that she is the only announced candidate who actually lives in the 27th District.

The resignation of Congressman Collins will require Governor Cuomo to call a special election to fill the vacancy. Republican leaders from the eight counties in the district must choose their party’s nominee – a process that will certainly test the GOP commitment to recruiting more women to run for office.

“I’m the only female in the race, but what I think matters more to Republican voters is that I’m the only conservative in the race,” Parlato said.

October 1, 2019 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, crime, news.
    Chris Collins in Buffalo, Aug. 2018

As part of his guilty plea in Federal Court in New York City this afternoon, former Congressman Chris Collins, who resigned his NY-27 seat yesterday, admitted that his actions, in tipping his son to a failed drug trial, were "anything but what a model citizen would take.”

He told the judge, “I regret my actions beyond anything that I could explain today.”

Collins reportedly pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements.

The case against Collins began with reporting by Jerry Zremski of the Buffalo News, who was curious about the congressman's involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics and so he began digging into public documents that raised questions about Collins behavior.

At the time, Collins dismissed Zremski's reporting as "fake news" but the stories eventually led to an FBI investigation as well as a House Ethics Committee investigation. 

In August 2018, Collins was indicted on numerous charges stemming from his insider trading activities, most notably, a phone call he made to his son Cameron Christopher Collins from the White House lawn in June 2018 where Collins shared insider information about a failed drug trial.

This led to Cameron Collins allegedly dumping some $800,000 worth of stock as well as suspicious stock trades by people associated with the Collins family.   

Chris Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president, denied the charges and repeatedly lied to constituents about his innocence, claiming he would be "fully exonerated." He narrowly won reelection in November 2018 while maintaining the fiction that he was innocent. 

Today in Federal Court he admitted to the White House phone call and said that he was "shocked and devastated" by the news of a failed drug trial and informed his son while in an "emotional state."

Outside the courtroom, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Geoffery Berman, a Trump appointee, said:

"Moments ago former New York Congressman Christopher Collins pled guilty to insider trading; and the lying to the FBI in order to cover up his insider trading scheme. Collins admitted to among other things illegally tipping his son while standing on the White House lawn. By virtue of his position, Collins helped write the laws of this country and acted as if the law didn't apply to him.

"This courthouse is a representation personifies to incorporate the ideal of equal justice under law. No one is above the law. That is because of our office's commitment to the pursuit of that ideal that Collins is now a convicted felon and no longer a member of Congress."

Now that Collins is out of office, it will be up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to call for a special election or let the sit vacant through 2020.

New York City reporting for this story courtesy WXXI in Rochester.

October 1, 2019 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Nate McMurray, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, the Democrat running for Congress in NY-27, reiterated his commitment to bring honest and effective leadership to NY-27 today at a press conference on the steps of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.
“Today is a good day for Western New York – Chris Collins, the most corrupt politician we’ve seen in this region, is gone. Following his indictment last summer, the rest of the nation saw what we already knew, and had known for a long time -- that the people of Western New York have been without real representative for the better half of a decade. Now, this district can finally move forward, and it’s time to bring responsible and honest leadership to NY-27 once and for all,” McMurray said.
“When I challenged Collins 18 months ago, his enablers, some of whom are now running for this seat, belittled our efforts, spread lies about me and my family, and betrayed voters by defending and lying for a guilty man. They are complicit in his crimes, and they know it. But we refused to back down, and we will not allow these enablers to rewrite history.

"The everyday people of Western New York – the nurses, the teachers, the police officers, and the working families – continue to stand with us and know that I will fight for them on the issues that impact our everyday lives. Issues like protecting healthcare, creating good jobs and fighting the corruption that has plagues our region."
McMurray also came out strongly supporting the announcement from Governor Cuomo that he plans to call the special election “sooner rather than later.”
“Democrats, Republicans and Independents all agree that this district has lacked effective representation for too long, and we need to elect someone who’s willing to speak truth to power as quickly as possible to give the people the voice they deserve in Washington.
“We came close in 2018 in a district that was designed for even an indicted Republican to win, but whenever this race occurs, we will be ready. Just watch, because we are just getting started."

September 30, 2019 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray has issued a statement following reports that Rep. Chris Collins will be resigning.

“The real victims of Collins' crimes are the people of his district that he repeatedly lied to about his guilt. Collins and Republican party insiders robbed his constituents of the representation they need on important issues like the rising cost of healthcare, the opioid epidemic, and the fight for good-paying jobs.

"They all failed us, so I’m going to keep talking about the critical issues Western New Yorkers face every day, because that’s what public service should be about, working to make other people’s lives just a little bit better."

August 28, 2019 - 11:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

Chris Jacobs was in Batavia today and this morning he stopped by The Coffee Press for an interview with The Batavian.

August 18, 2019 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rob Ortt, NY-27, news, batavia, notify.
Video Sponsor

Sen. Rob Ortt on Saturday, in announcing his run for the NY-27 congressional district, hung his star -- his Bronze Star -- on his military service and what he said are his conservative credentials as a "battle-tested warrior."

It's a phrase he is using on his campaign signs, he used in his speech and in his remarks to the media after his announcement.

Ortt came to Batavia, which he said is the heart of the district, and made his announcement in front of City Hall, where just a month ago, Medal of Honor winner David Bellavia received the Key to the City.

"This really is the heart of the district," Ortt said. "We wanted to make a point, we wanted to be here in Genesee County, in Batavia, because if you think about Genesee County, Orleans County, Livingston, Wyoming even parts of Ontario, it's rural New York. It's rural America.

"Those are the values that we talk about all the time that we're losing in places like Albany and Washington, D.C. These are values that our party talks about defending all the time. And I think it's important that you are actually where those folks live. This is the heart of the district in my opinion."

Ortt talked at length about his decision to serve in the military after 9-1-1 and take part in the War on Terror and what his service meant to him.

"I was lucky to return home to Meghan and my family but I wear a constant reminder on my wrist of four of my brothers in arms who were not so lucky," Ortt said. "That is what motivates me and inspires me to this day. These men and countless others died for an idea that we refer to as America. My commitment to that idea did not end when I took off my uniform."

Ortt said he is fully committed to defending President Donald Trump, that he wants to go to Washington to support the president's agenda. He said he supports tighter border security, accused Democrats of being for "open borders," and said he wants to build a wall along the Southern border.

"I deployed to the Southern border as part of Operation Jumpstart," Ortt said. "I know what our Border Patrol is up against. We need to build the wall. We need to increase funding for border security of all kinds. And we need to close the loopholes that are allowing people to cut the line and waltz in here consequence-free."

Ortt said Democrats in Washington are pushing a radical agenda and he wants to go there and fight it.

"Albany, and by extension New York State, is a stark warning to the rest of the country," Ortt said. "We already know here what the Democratic Socialist agenda is: Higher taxes. Open borders. Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Unionization of our farms. Abortion on demand, more rights for criminals, and more gun control for our law-abiding gun owners."

Ortt said he has been named through multiple years the most conservative member of the Senate and that he is experienced in standing up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"I will do the same to the extreme radical Speaker of the House," Ortt said. "You all know who I'm talking about. She runs the Democratic policy agenda and she has never seen a camera she doesn't like. And she's a New Yorker.

"Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has a couple of deputies, too: Nancy Pelosi and her America-hating squad members Ilhan Omar and  Rashida Tlaib. I look forward to meeting all of them."

Earlier in his speech, Ortt accused some Democrats of hating America and said, "If you don't love this country, you're free to leave. Our borders work both ways."

After these statements and statements about how well he believes the country is doing under Trump, Ortt said, "So if you hadn't guessed it, I support President Trump. And I'm not afraid to talk about his agenda and all the good that I believe he's doing for this country."

He concluded his speech with, "I am Robert Ortt. I'm a conservative warrior. I'm a battle-tested patriot and I will never back down from the fight. I'm not running for Congress to have a seat at the table. I'm running for Congress to flip the table over."

At no time during his speech did he mention the incumbent congressman, Chris Collins, who is facing a House ethics investigation and a federal trial on insider trading charges and has yet to announce whether he will seek reelection. Asked about Collins after his speech, Ortt said he is committed to the race and will run in a primary against Collins should Collins decide to try and retain his seat.

"This race is wide open and I think it's so important that we have a strong conservative veteran voice, a battle-tested leader, in this race," Ortt said. "I think it's important for the people of this district and I think it's important for our country for our president."

Also left out of Ortt's comments were the names Chris Jacobs, Beth Parlato, and David Bellavia. Neither Jacobs nor Parlato have yet to make a public appearance in Batavia, but both are running in the primary election on June 2020. And while there is a "Draft David Bellavia" movement among a group of Republicans in the district, Bellavia has remained neutral on political questions since receiving the Medal of Honor.  He is currently serving the Army in publicity and recruiting capacity and is prohibited from making statements about his political plans. It's unclear when his status will change and what his intentions might be toward the seat.

The video contains Ortt's full remarks, including the discussion with reporters after the event.

After Ortt's announcement, Jacobs released the following statement:

“I want to welcome my friend Rob Ortt to the campaign for New York’s 27th district. As a conservative who has created jobs, I’m running for Congress because our community needs a fighter for small businesses who can help President Trump enact better trade deals and stop the illegal immigration crisis. I intend to run an issues-based campaign focused on my record protecting taxpayers, cutting fees and defending the 2nd amendment and I welcome Rob to that conversation.”

August 16, 2019 - 1:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rob Ortt, NY-27, news, notify.

Sen. Rob Ortt, who represents Tonawanda and surrounding areas in Albany, has scheduled a press conference tomorrow to discuss the NY-27 congressional race.

The media advisory does not explicitly say he is planning to announce a primary challenge to Rep. Chris Collins.

Collins, facing a federal indictment on insider trading charges and a House ethics investigation, while maintaining his innocence, has been noncommittal about whether he will seek reelection.

That has kept many potential challenges, including Assemblyman Steve Hawley, on the sidelines.

Hawley reiterated today, "As I have always maintained, we have an incumbent congressman. I will make a decision once his status is known."

Assuming Ortt, a NY Army National Guard veteran who served in Afghanistan and earned a bronze star in combat, enters the race, he will join two other candidates in the primary field against Collins. The other candidates, who have yet to make a publicly announced visit to Batavia, are Chris Jacobs and Beth Parlato.

In the past few months, Ortt has paid a bit of attention to Genesee County, hosting a public forum in Batavia on the farm labor bill and visiting a farm in Corfu, where he first shared a possible interest in running for this congressional seat.

While there is an effort to convince Medal of Honor recipient and Batavia resident David Bellavia to enter the race, Bellavia has taken no public position on the race and is maintaining a busy schedule with the Army to promote service to community and country.

August 16, 2019 - 9:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, Nate McMurray, politics, video.
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Rep. Chris Collins paid a visit Thursday to the Child Advocacy Center in Batavia (more on that later) and after his visit we spoke with him about his campaign plans and his criminal case.

August 10, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, chris collins, video.
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Today, Nate McMurray, who narrowly lost to Chris Collins in the NY-27 congressional race in 2018, formally announced he will seek the office in 2020.

One of the first things did after finalizing his decision to run was call The Batavian and ask for an interview, so we met this afternoon at The Coffee Press.

McMurray said that while other Republicans have said they are mounting a primary challenge to Collins, Collins is the front-runner and there is no reason to believe Collins won't be on the general election ballot in November. Collins, McMurray said, is the person he's running against.

"I think a lot of people always assume he's going to give up or go away, but he's proven that he doesn't go away easily," McMurray said. "I think that he needs to hold onto this seat to maintain his freedom. It's the best leverage point he has in his trial (on Federal insider trading charges). I think until he's gone you have to assume he's the candidate."

Collins has to go, McMurray said, because with Federal charges pending and a congressional ethics investigation that is still open, Collins is unable to effectively represent the people of the 27th District.

In 2018, McMurray opposed efforts to impeach Donald Trump. Since the release of the Mueller Report, he's changed his position. He said he realizes this stand may cost him votes in this district.

"Anyone who respects the rule of law and reads (the report), as I've read it, you'll come away very troubled," said McMurray, who is an attorney. "You'll come away thinking that Congress and the Senate have a duty to act. They really shouldn't be playing politics with this. It's too important.

"And I think that whether you support President Trump or not, if read that report, you're going to see a portrait of a man who tried to obstruct justice, who tried to manipulate the law, and who thought he was above the law."

August 10, 2019 - 11:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Today I am officially declaring my candidacy in New York’s 27th Congressional District. In some ways, it seems like I never stopped. I continue to travel across Western New York meeting with good people; listening and learning.

But I was struggling to officially commit. I know how hard it is to run, how much time it takes away from my family, and the hateful attacks we will endure. I also considered other opportunities as a business professional and even other roles as a public servant. Certainly, there is a path of less resistance.

Instead, I am choosing the path of most resistance. This week marks the one-year anniversary of Chris Collins’ federal indictment charges for insider trading. Mr. Collins and the political machine behind him remain strong despite his many ethical and legal failures. Many party loyalists continue to view him favorably, even more than his Republican challengers. He retains this support in part due to the tactics he employs; the depths he and his hateful political forces will stoop to.

Despite the perceived insurmountable challenges in 2018, our race against Collins was one of the closest in the country (decided by less than 1 percent), achieving the largest partisan swing of any first time state/ federal candidate in the country—in a district designed for a Republican (any Republican) to win easily. This was despite our side being outspent, outnumbered, and attacked day after day by some of the most dishonest and detestable TV ads ever produced for a political race.

Why did we perform so well? Many are tired of being asked to vote blindly for their party. They are tired of nothing ever-improving, nothing ever-changing. And they are tired of the politics of hate and corruption. With your support, passion, and service to our community, we can finish what we started 2018 and finally reclaim this seat on behalf of the hardworking people of Western New York. People like you, who go to work on time every day, who help their neighbors, who never cheat their business associates, and who spread kindness and goodness throughout their lives.

The last time I ran I said that we needed to “Fight Like Hell.” And we did fight like hell. We always will. But this time I will rely more on the good hearts and values I saw in the people of my district. We will empower the kindness and goodness around us. We will, “Be Kind. Do Good.”

It sounds simple, maybe some will call it soft. But could any two words be more strong in this age of professional cruelty? Kindness and goodness in an era of violence and hate is more bold than any rally cry.

All of us fall short of these values. It is easier to match rage with rage, hate with hate. But with kindness and goodness as our standard, we can overcome this sad moment in American history — a moment where all good people regardless of party affiliation can all feel the America we love fading.

Do not let America fade. America must always be, as Ronald Reagan called it, the “City on the Hill.” A country of kindness and goodness, where capitalism does not build walls; it builds ladders allowing every American to climb from poverty to flourishing. Where we do not fear science and fact, but embrace and lead the world in research and education. Where we do not pay homage to millionaires and aristocrats but value those who provide humble, honest service to family, friends and community.

In 2020, we will go to Washington to fight for healthcare for every American (now!), infrastructure (now!), for common-sense gun control (and now!), for immigration reform to help our farmers (now!), and for technologies and policies that will confront the reality of climate change. I will also fight for a capitalist system that preserves the American Dream and provides opportunities to all, and not just hoards wealth for the most connected and elite.

“Given how close Nate came in 2018, we are thrilled to have him running for us this cycle. It’s been too long since the people of NY-27 have had a representative that cares about representing the voters rather than the party. It is the one-year anniversary of Chris Collins’ indictment and the Republicans are still stuck with him and don’t know what to do. We are delighted to have Nate running again” -- Judith Hunter (chair, Livingston County Democratic Committee)

"When Nate McMurray ran in NY-27 in 2018, he came within less than a percentage point of victory. But along with this, he did something else, something magical. He energized the rural counties. He created a movement on the ground that hasn't gone away. Nate asked them all to ‘Fight Like Hell’, they did, and will again." -- Cynthia Appleton (chair, Wyoming County Democratic Committee)

“I am so pleased to hear that Nate will be running again. He has visited Orleans County many times and is very aware of what our small county faces every day...few jobs, lack of affordable housing and high taxes. We need Nate!” -- Jeanne Crane (chair, Orleans County Democratic Committee)

“Chairwoman Brittaney Wells and the Monroe County Democratic Committee are proud to join Nate to finish the fight he began in 2018 for the 27th Congressional District. We are confident that he will be successful in his effort to unseat an absentee billionaire that has not represented the hard-working people of the 27th. Nate will restore integrity to the office and ensure his constituents are heard.” -- Brittaney Wells (chair, Monroe County Democratic Committee)

Thank you all for standing with me in the battles ahead. Together we will finish what we started; together we will bring real representation to the hard-working people of Western New York.

August 7, 2019 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, kathy hochul, video.
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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she has no interest in running for Congress again, not even after redistricting in 2022 because she thinks she is having a more positive impact for the people of Western New York in Albany than she could have in Washington, D.C.

Hochul represented WNY in Congress in 2011 and 2012 before losing a close election to Rep. Chris Collins.

She did say, however, if she ran this year, she would win.

Collins, fighting a federal criminal indictment and facing a House Ethics Committee investigation, has made no official announcement regarding his reelection plans. But he has transferred $500,000 of personal funds to his campaign. He is facing at least two primary challengers and if he runs the Democrats may send Nate McMurray up against him again, who narrowly lost to Collins in 2018.  

Regardless of who runs against Collins, Hochul said Collins will soon be known as "the former congressman" because "he will lose the election."

Hochul was in Batavia for the announcement of a new workforce development program. We will have more coverage on that later.

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