Democratic leaders are endorsing Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray to challenge incumbent Chris Collins this November.
McMurray currently lives outside of the 27th district but is allowed to compete due to election law. Collins campaign spokesman Bryan Piligra released a statement saying democrats are, “...kicking progressives to the curb by rigging the primary to benefit an out-of-district Hillary Clinton wannabe with an email problem”. Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner said that’s not the case.
“This wasn’t a district where we had to support a candidate that represents the party’s values or the party’s platform,” said Zellner. “This was a district that we had to go and find someone who represents the districts values and the district’s needs. And we think that Nate McMurray is the strongest candidate that does that.”
McMurray said the attacks from Collins this early on means he’s being taken seriously.
“This is my home. It’s been the home of my family for generations,” said McMurray. “These districts are gerrymandered. (Collins) relies on the fact that the 27th district swims around Grand Island as a protection. But if there was some problem with me running there would be a law against it.”
A statement from the Collins campaign said McMurray was, “…currying favor with the Democrat establishment and figuring out how to sell the Cuomo/Pelosi agenda to NY-27 voters.” McMurray views this as a sign that Collins can’t run on his own record.
“I want to face him one on one. If he’s so confident in his position I challenge him to a debate. Meet me on a stage. We’ll talk all about how I don’t live in the 27th district. We’ll talk all about my apparent relationship with Pelosi and Hilary. Which is a joke. Let’s talk about it. I would love to face you (Collins) one on one on a stage. Let’s see how real these things are. Let’s give that to the people of the 27th district.”
McMurray wants to run his campaign on the issues, but recognizes there will be some negativity.
“This is going to be brutal obviously,” said McMurray. “There’s going to be name calling and (he’s) going to keep yelling Pelosi and Hilary just to scare people away. I think the people of Western New York are smarter than that. And they’re smart enough to know that this man can’t run on his own record. He can’t run on the issues. So he’s going to try to distract.”
Collins has had large support from the community in the past. He won the district’s 2016 election with 67 percent of the vote.
“This man, I keep saying it, he’s so deep in the swamp he’s got gills,” said McMurray. “He is completely disconnected with the people he serves. He doesn’t understand that yelling Hillary and yelling Pelosi 24 hours a day isn’t good enough.”
Last year Democrats started a group called Turn 27 Blue to help and prepare candidates who could run against Collins. They plan to engage grassroots activists moving forward.
“I’m excited and I’m humbled,” said McMurray. “An endorsement that that’s broad and that unanimous with activist groups and all these different counties getting behind me gives me a lot of hope and strength that I can actually do this and we can beat this man.