State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer announced Monday he is no longer in the running to replace Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District.
Ranzenhofer was among numerous Republican elected officials under consideration.
He confirmed his decision in a written statement: "After a great deal of reflection, and consultation with my family, friends, and community over the last several days, I am removing myself from consideration in the search to find a replacement candidate for the 27th Congressional district. I’m not giving up this opportunity lightly, but the decision is easier because there are so many other qualified candidates. These last few weeks have been a whirlwind. It has been an honor to have been asked by so many to consider a run for Congress.
"The chairmen and chairwomen who will make this very important decision have been thrust into unchartered waters and a very difficult situation. They have taken their responsibilities seriously and have been very thoughtful and deliberative. No other group of individuals is better able to handle this challenge. I want to commend those who have answered the call. Many are my friends, some are my colleagues, and each would make an exceptional member of Congress. Each has strengths and weaknesses which have to be carefully weighed by the chairs charged with finding a solution.
"These last few weeks have been quite an experience for which I am grateful and will always remember. I wish the eight chairs Godspeed as they work their way through this process. All candidates seeking to become the next Congressional Representative are to be commended for accepting this challenge. I wish them good luck and will wholeheartedly support whomever is chosen.
"It was an honor to have been asked by so many to consider this opportunity. I am blessed with the opportunity to serve the residents of Erie, Genesee and Monroe counties and look forward to continuing to represent them in the New York State Senate."
One of the risks, had Ranzenhofer remained in the running, was the fate of his current seat. Although Democrats hold a one-seat advantage in the Senate with 32 filled, one Democrat is currently in caucus with the 31 seated Republicans, allowing the GOP to retain political control of that legislative house.
Last week, fellow Republican State Senator Patrick Gallivan announced he would not seek to replace Congressman Collins, who was indicted earlier this month on insider training charges.
Republican State Senator Robert Ortt was still under consideration. Other candidates include Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, State Assemblymembers Ray Walter and David DiPietro, former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and Erie County Legislators Edward Rath III and Lynne Dixon.
Former congressional candidate, combat veteran and radio talk show host David Bellavia was also breifly under consideration until he announced he would not seek the office.
Chairs of county-level Republican party committees are seeking a way to remove Collins from the ballot. The deadline to endorse a candidate has passed and Collins, because he has not resigned his position, has not been removed.