Former North Tonawanda mayor and current state Sen. Robert Ortt has announced his candidacy for the 27th Congressional district seat.
Ortt's announcement make him the third Republican to challenge incumbent GOP Rep. Chris Collins.
Speaking at the Lockport VFW Post, Ortt delivered a speech that outlined his experiences as a soldier – in Afghanistan and defending the U.S. Southern border – his service as a state senator and his campaign platform as a congressional candidate.
“Some people want to go to Washington and bring everybody to the table; I want to flip the table over,” Ortt said. “We need somebody who will not only support President Trump, but someone who is unafraid of defending our freedoms and our values. We face continued threats to our security from abroad as well as assaults on what makes America great here at home. Our nation was great, is still great and will continue to be great because of people like those who reside in NY-27, no matter how many times the regressives on the left claim we’re awful and call for a socialist revolution.”
In 2017, Ortt and his predecessor Sen. George Maziarz were indicted by an Albany County grand jury on felony election law tied to a campaign donations. The public corruption charges against Ortt were later dismissed by County Court Judge Peter Lynch due to a lack of evidence.
State Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo) issued a statement "welcoming his friend" to the race.
“As a conservative who has created jobs, I’m running for Congress because our community needs a fighter for small businesses who can help President Trump enact better trade deals and stop the illegal immigration crisis," Jacobs said. "I intend to run an issues-based campaign focused on my record protecting taxpayers, cutting fees and defending the 2nd amendment and I welcome Rob to that conversation.”
Darien attorney and former judge Beth Parlato is the third Republican hopeful for the seat. Parlato already has a national platform from which to voice her "conservative activism." She is a regular contributor on Fox News and she holds leadership roles in Moms for America, founded to "counter radical feminism," and Concerned Women for America, founded to counter "feminists' anti-God, anti-family rhetoric."
Democratic Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray has also announced plans to run again. He narrowly lost the district election to Collins last year.