A prominent New York Republican said her party can hold the congressional seat vacated by Chris Collins, part of his felony guilty plea to insider trading.
The empty 27th congressional district sprawls from Amherst deep into Central New York, a hard-core Republican and conservative district filled with open land and lots of cows. It is usually listed as solid red, although Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul did hold it for a while, until losing to Collins.
There will be an election, but when is not clear. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he wants to hold it April 26, when the Democratic presidential primary is scheduled. That may be why State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy is in court seeking an earlier date.
State Federation of Republican Women President Kim Bowers said her party can hold the seat in a tough race.
"Absolutely. It's always going to be a tough race. And whether you think you have it in the bag, you always have to make sure that you're running like you're the underdog, because you never know what's going to happen out there," Bowers said. "So you want to make sure that you run hard for the constituents who are voting for you. Whether it's a very red district, you want to make sure that you represent them well. You want to make sure you run like it's yours to lose."
She admitted, however, that it is a difficult district to campaign in because it is so large, requiring old-fashioned handshake races.
"It's a tough media district, but it doesn't have to be about spending money. It doesn't have to be about how you get your TV ads out or your media buys or your mail pieces," she said. "It's about touching the hands and the people of that district. You really want to make sure that you resonate with them, and that is going to events that are around those counties and meeting them, face to face."
There is a flock of Republicans talking about running, although it is hard to do that without a date for a vote. Besides, there is likely to be a primary election for the seat June 23 and the next general election in November.
Democrats are again running outgoing Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray.