Court discussion reveals plans for April 28 special election for Collins' seat

Jan 13, 2020

The special election to fill out former Rep. Chris Collins' term in the 27th Congressional District will apparently be held April 28, the same day the state's presidential primary will be held.

former Cong. Chris Collins
Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet formally announced that date, but an official with the New York Attorney General’s office indicated in court Monday that is the date that Cuomo will set for an election.

Republicans had been arguing in State Supreme Court in Rochester that the date should be earlier when the State Attorney General's office revealed the plans for the April date.

For weeks, Cuomo has been arguing that the April date is a money saver.

"“There’s a benefit to doing it on a scheduled election date because then you don’t have to hold a special election just for one office. You don’t have to the Board of Elections incur the cost. People don’t have to come out just for one seat,” he  told WBFO in an October interview shortly after Collins resigned his post in Congress and pleaded guilty to insider trading charges.

Monroe County's Democratic Elections Commissioner Colleen Anderson echoed the argument for the April date.

“Anytime you combine elections it’s good for taxpayers because elections cost a lot of money these days, especially when you bring in early voting and having to do nine days of early voting. So you’re going to have that on top of election day,” Anderson said.

The 27th District includes all or part of eight counties, including a portion of Monroe county

Judge John Ark reserved decision after Monday’s hearing, but if Cuomo does call for the special election to be held April 28, then that is when it will be held.

New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy issued a statement criticizing what he calls Cuomo’s “partisan manipulation” of the special election, which Langworthy said “is a slap in the face to Western New Yorkers who won’t forget he put his own interests above their right to representation in Congress.”

Whoever wins the special election would serve through 2020, and would have to run again in November to keep the seat for a full, two-year term. Party chairs from across the district are expected to select their candidates in the coming weeks.

The Clarence Republican was arrested in August 2018 after a federal grand jury accused him of sharing material, non-public information about Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company. Collins was on the company's board of directors and passed along information about the results of drug trials. That information allowed them to make timely stock trades and avoid over $768,000 in losses, according to court documents.

Collins pleaded guilty to securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements and resigned his seat in October. Collins was indicted along with his son, Cameron and Cameron's soon-to-be father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky. Chris Collins will be sentenced on Friday.