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NY-27

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

davidbellaviakey.jpg

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.

Sincerely, 

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.
lyingchriscollinsaug2018.jpg
    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.
Video Sponsor

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.
Video Sponsor

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.

July 29, 2019 - 11:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Beth Parlato, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Buffalo — She’s spent a career as a champion for families. Now, Beth Parlato is a candidate for Congress. Conservative activist Beth Parlato announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination in New York’s 27th Congressional District today.

The family law attorney and former judge promised to be a new, conservative voice in Congress.

“I’m concerned about the direction of our country," Parlato said. "Even as we see the evidence of a booming economy that continues to lift up every American, the loudest voices on the left are pushing socialist policies that will destroy jobs and devastate families. Now is not the time to go backwards.”

Beth Parlato has decades of experience. As a family law attorney and Judge, Beth has seen up close the struggles that families are dealing with.

“I’ve seen so many difficult situations,” Parlato said. “Families are in crisis and it’s taken a toll on our country; when our families are hurting, so is our nation.”

Parlato is also a recognized leader in the conservative movement. She is a regular contributor on Fox News and her leadership roles in Moms for America and Concerned Women for America have given her a large national voice to fight for conservative values.

“Christian and traditional values are mocked and the loudest voices on the left seem to have a disdain for America. We need a conservative alternative to what they call ‘the squad.’ In Congress, I’ll be that new voice.”

July 16, 2019 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, immigration, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins introduced The Red Light Act, his new legislation that withholds federal highway funds from any state that grants driver licenses or identification cards to illegal aliens present in the United States.

Congressman Collins' legislation comes on the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo recent signing of the Green Light Bill into law last month. This new state law grants driver's license privileges to illegal immigrants.

“Once again, Governor Cuomo has put his socialist agenda ahead of the safety of American citizens,” said Congressman Collins. “Governor Cuomo should be enforcing laws that protect Americans instead of supporting those who break our laws. Citizens should feel safe behind the wheel, but now in New York, there will be a strong likelihood that illegals could be driving uninsured and unregistered vehicles wreaking havoc on our roads.”

"Cuomo has threatened the lives of New Yorkers who are legal U.S. citizens with this legislation,” added Collins. "If he wants to help illegal immigrants avoid the law while threatening highway safety, he can pay for it.”

If enacted, the Collins’ legislation would withhold funds beginning in the fiscal year 2020 and each fiscal year thereafter. Any funds withheld from noncompliant states will be appropriated to states that do not allow illegal immigrants to have a driver's license or identification cards.

July 10, 2019 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

End Citizens United (ECU) today named Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27) to the Big Money 20, the group’s top targets to defeat in 2020. ECU’s Big Money 20 campaign is focused on defeating incumbents who benefit most from the corrupt establishment in Washington by showing voters how politicians like Rep. Collins put corporate special interest donors ahead of the people they’re supposed to represent. 

“Chris Collins is one of the most corrupt members of Congress and has committed several federal crimes,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Not only has Collins taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in special interest money, but he has betrayed the trust of his district by using his Congressional seat to give big breaks to the pharmaceutical companies in which he has personally invested millions.

"Meanwhile, New Yorkers with preexisting conditions are seeing their coverage threatened and drug prices skyrocket. Chris Collins is watching out for his bank account and his Big Pharma donors, not New Yorkers. End Citizens United and our members look forward to defeating Chris Collins in 2020.” 

The Big Money 20 aims to educate voters about incumbents who represent the worst of Washington and rally support for reforming the political system. The members of the Big Money 20 are incumbents who take money from corporate special interests, mega-donors, and industries like Big Pharma and Big Oil and then put those interests ahead of their constituents. 

Collins and his son owned approximately one-fifth of an Australian pharmaceutical company called Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins convinced five other GOP lawmakers to invest in the company — all while pushing legislation aimed at helping the company succeed. When the company’s one drug failed a clinical trial, Collins breached confidentiality and informed his son who tipped off several other Innate investors and sold millions of shares.

In August 2018, Collins was arrested and charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements after lying to the FBI in an attempt to cover up his crimes. But this corruption was nothing new. Collins has been called “Big Pharma’s biggest supporter in Congress.”

He abused the power of his office in order to boost Innate and his other Big Pharma donors, which have given him more than $72,000 by crusading for provisions that would save Innate millions of dollars and make it easier for them to be granted FDA status.

Collins also voted for the GOP tax bill which gave billions in tax giveaways to corporations and admitted to a reporter that his mega-donors were saying to get the bill passed or “don’t ever call [them] again.” 

In the 2018 cycle, End Citizens United helped defeat 82 percent of the Big Money 20 targets. ECU will connect its more than 550,000 members to endorsed candidates who are challenging Big Money 20 targets.

ECU has conducted extensive polling and research showing that voters across the political spectrum support getting big money out of politics. ECU is a traditional political action committee (PAC) with more than four million members, including 6,300 in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

ECU raised $44 million in the 2018 last cycle and helped elect more than 150 members to the 116th Congress, including two new U.S. senators and 58 new U.S. representatives. The reform group is entirely grassroots-funded with an average donation of just $14.

NOTE: We asked spokesman Sayed Bawadden about End Citizens United, and specifically if they also listed Democratic office holders, and he responded: "We're a Democratic PAC focused on campaign finance reform, so we only target Republicans."

Also, according to campaign finance disclosures, Collins has raised only $5,000 for the 2020 campaign.

July 9, 2019 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, news, notify, NY-27.

davidbellavia_presser.jpg

Before the public learned David Bellavia would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Iraq War in Fallujah, the Batavia resident was on the short list of possible candidates for the NY-27, even in a possible primary challenge to Rep. Chris Collins.

After the award was announced, when the topic came up, Bellavia demurred. He expressed concern that entering the political fray could tarnish the medal. He said he wanted to serve his country and the best way to do that might be helping the Army recruit new soldiers.

His former political consultant, Michael Caputo, thinks Bellavia needs to hear loud and clear from the citizens of the NY-27 that the best way for the Iraq War veteran to serve his country is as a member of Congress.

Today, Caputo, along with the help of seven political leaders in all seven counties of the district, launched a "Draft Bellavia Campaign," aimed at demonstrating to Bellavia that the people of the district do want him to serve in Congress and it puts in place an organization to support a campaign -- and a list of potential donors -- so that when and if Bellavia does decide to run, he's ready to go.

"We’re at a point in this country here where we need heroes," Caputo said. "When I look around Congress and Washington, I see very few heroes. We have in David Bellavia right here in Western New York -- a hero -- and I think we need to look at our own hero and tell him we want him to run for Congress if he wants to.

"At a time when our country needs heroes like never before, and I think everybody realizes, and we have in our midst a bonafide hero, it is our responsibility as a community to step up and elect one for our own heroes, like it is the responsibility of any community to deliver good, honest leadership." 

Caputo hopes Bellavia will make the decision by the end of October, or at least after the holidays.

The Genesee County chair for the Draft Bellavia movement is City Councilman Adam Tabelski.

"I'm joining to encourage David to run because I care deeply about our country and our government," Tabelski said. "Its future will either be shaped by people who are the best we can find or by somebody else, and I think David is an outstanding individual who is among the best we could hope to represent us in Congress."

Bellavia is currently employed by the Army and traveling on behalf of the military. He cannot participate in a political campaign. Caputo said he informed Bellavia of the "Draft Bellavia" effort and Bellavia neither encouraged nor waived off the effort.

Yesterday, Bellavia returned to his radio show on WBEN in Buffalo for one day and when asked about a potential run for Congress, he again expressed concern that a run for office could be misconstrued now that he's won the Medal of Honor.

"I just I have so much reverence for this award," Bellavia said on air. "I know for the longest time what we do on this show is we stir the pot. We, you know, sometimes antagonize and sometimes poke people we disagree with, and I just I don't ever want anyone to say that this award is being used for anything other than promoting what I think is the most important thing for the future of this republic, which is getting young people to make the decision that myself and all of my friends made, and it made our lives better, and that was serving our country in uniform."

When pressed by cohost Tom Bauerle, however, Bellavia said he will serve his country in whatever way he feels compelled to serve.

"I'm not ruling anything out," Bellavia said. "If I feel compelled to serve, you know, I might if I feel compelled to serve in uniform. I'll get back in shape and grab a rifle and go back. You know, if I'm compelled to run for office I might do that, too. But at this point, I'm the property of the U.S. Army and my job is to get out there and share that story and get as many people from all backgrounds to make a decision to put their country before themselves and get that next generation ready for the fight."

Bellavia first ran for Congress in 2011, in the special election to replace Chris Lee after Lee resigned because of a shirtless post he made on Craigslist. While he eventually endorsed Jack Davis in that race, he began by knocking the Erie County GOP political machine that gave GLOW Tom Reynolds, Chris Lee, Jane Corwin, the GOP candidate that year, and eventually Chris Collins (who was county executive in Erie County at the time). 

Kathy Hochul eventually won the election.

He ran again in the GOP primary in 2012, losing to Chris Collins.

Bellavia has since cited that loss as a reason to believe the people of NY-27 may not want him to run now.

That's another reason Caputo believes Bellavia needs to be convinced there is a strong grassroots effort to back a Bellavia campaign.

The effort includes a website, DraftBellavia.com.

"Our goal is to get 10,000 supporters organized by county all within the boundaries of the district," Caputo said. "We’re about to put up a device on the website to provide an opportunity to send an email to David to give him special encouragement, saying why you back David, what inspires you to do so. That's the kind of input a draft candidate needs. He needs to know how the community feels." 

A big factor in Bellavia's decision, Caputo acknowledged, however, is what Collins decides to do. Publically, Collins, who is under federal indictment on insider trading charges, hasn't committed to a reelection campaign. He is going to face at least one primary challenger -- Chris Jacobs -- and Caputo said Collins and Bellavia are friends. He doesn't believe Bellavia will want to run if Collins is determined to have his own name on the primary ballot.

President Donald Trump could have some say in the race and Caputo, who is friends with Trump and was the one who first introduced Collins to Trump, said Trump will be watching developments in the NY-27 closely. He may or may not weigh in with his own wishes at some point.

Another political factor to be weighed, Caputo said, is redistricting after the 2020 census. New York could lose another Congressional seat. The NY-27 as we know it could become far less of a conservative district if it takes in more of Buffalo or Rochester, or stay red if it picks up more of the Southern Tier.

"David is the best candidate of all those considering running for the NY-27 that preserves the district if the redistricting ax handle falls in Albany," Caputo said. "The NY-27 is less likely to be taken from a Medal of Honor recipient. The voters of the NY-27 have a rare opportunity to select the only Republican candidate who can repel a redistricting raiding party."

As for what kind of candidate and congressman Bellavia might be, Caputo said he believes Bellavia could be the kind of leader that helps heal some of the divisions in the country. While Bellavia has supported the president, his Hall of Heroes speech -- a big hit with conservatives that has drawn no fire from progressives -- was patriotic without being nationalist, Caputo acknowledged. It was anti-war while promising to rain destruction on any nations that attack the United States, and standing before the Army's top brass, Bellavia stood strong for loyalty, equality, and a free press.

After praising the work of combat journalist Michael Ware, and noting the important role journalists play in telling the story of the men and women who go to war, Bellavia said:

"This entire military is one cohesive dedicated force. And the threats to our nations -- they don't sleep. They're watching our every move. Iran. Russia. China. North Korea. ISIS. Al-Qaeda. They may be watching this right now.

"Our military should not be mistaken for our cable news gabfest show. We don't care what you look like. We don't care who you voted for, who you worship, what you worship, or who you love. It doesn't matter if your dad left you millions when he died or if you knew who your father was. We have been honed into a machine of lethal moving parts that you would be wise to avoid if you know what's good for you.

"We will not be intimidated. We will not back down. We've seen war. We don't want war. But if you want war with the United States of America, there's one thing I can promise you, so help me God, someone else will raise your sons and daughters.

"We fight so our children never have to. We fight for one day when our children and our enemies' children can discuss their differences without fear or loathing."

That tempered conservatism reflects Bellavia's beliefs, Caputo said.

"Most Western New York progressives, who are valuable voices in the discussion, in the public discussion, most of them know David," Caputo said. "Some of them are good friends because David made a point when he returned to Western New York to reach out to progressives he respects.  

"The reflexively anti-conservative progressives might not support him but the open-minded, thinking progressives who have been in conversations with David for years now, understand the kind of person he is. 

"If people approach this honestly, there is an agreement on both sides that we're in trouble as a nation and we need to tone this down and become more united. David is the person who can start that conversation from our side."

Photo: File photo, Bellavia's 2012 campaign kickoff announcement.

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