Democrats plan to fight to keep Collins on the ballot

Aug 14, 2018

While Republican leaders in the eight counties of New York's 27th Congressional District go about trying to replace Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence), Democrats are planning to fight any changes to the November ballot.

Rep. Chris Collins suspended his reelection campaign after pleading not guilty to insider trading, lying to the FBI and other charges.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

Shortly after Collins announced he was suspending his campaign for re-election to focus on clearing his name - Erie County GOP Chair Nick Langworthy said it was a fresh start for the district - but it requires changing the ballot.  
    
"There would have to be a vacancy created. And we're confident that there will be an opportunity to have Chris Collins' name to come off the ballot," Langworthy said.

But Erie County Democratic Committee Chair Jeremy Zellner says, given New York's complex election laws, it's a murky situation. And Zellner says any move to change the ballot is a fraud on the system.
    
"Whatever they do is going to have to be done at the State Board of Elections. And I know that there are a number of lawyers who are looking at this situation and are probably going to litigate this. And that's the real shame of the issue is though. The voters of the 27th District signed paperwork to get Chris Collins to be their elected official. And now a judge or a jury, or someone else doing paperwork, is going to be in charge of that," Zellner said.  

Regardless of what happens, Congressman Brian Higgins, a South Buffalo Democrat says, a lot of help is on the way for Nate McMurray from the Democratic National Committee. Higgins says McMurray's been effective as Supervisor of Grand Island - a conservative town.
    
"And I think in the end Republicans and Democrats at the community level want the same thing. It's not ideological it's commonsensical - investing in infrastructure, providing immediate relief to people that are getting clobbered with huge healthcare premiums," Higgins said.  

Langworthy says seeing McMurray elected to a seat that's overwhelmingly Republican - because of Collins legal troubles - would be "a crime against the wishes of many of the voters."