27th Congressional District

Three months ago, Chris Collins was expected to cruise to reelection in November. That was before the congressman was indicted on insider trading charges and announced he was suspending his campaign. Collins, of course, reversed that decision, stating that he would "actively" campaign in the 27th district. As Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy points out, that activity has featured some limited public appearances and  heavy spending on political advertising, including one commercial which has raised the ire of ethnic groups and Democratic challenger Nate McMurray.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence) says his last day in office will be Dec. 31, as charges of insider trading against him have essentially ended his political career and reputation. He says what he does next will not be politics.

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State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer announced Monday he is no longer in the running to replace Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Republican county chairs from across the 27th Congressional District say they have three weeks to decide who they want to replace Congressman Chris Collins on the November ballot.  They spent much of Tuesday huddled at Batavia Downs discussing the issue and hearing from nine potential candidates.

McMurray for Congress / WBFO News

Congressman Chris Collins has suspended his re-election efforts after he was indicted on insider trading charges last week.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

She was defeated six years ago by the man now holding her former seat in the House of Representatives. Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested she'd be an ideal candidate to challenge Chris Collins this November. But Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, during an appearance in Buffalo, says she's better serving people in her current role.


Democratic leaders are endorsing Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray to challenge incumbent Chris Collins this November.

The race for the 27th Congressional District continues to draw attention by both major parties.

Empire State Development Corporation

Democrat Erin Cole does not consider herself a political person, but has been on a career track to run for political office for quite some time. The 46-year-old said the timing is now right for a run, and she intends to take on Clarence Republican Chris Collins.

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Republican Chris Collins was sworn in Thursday as one of the newest members of  the U.S. House of Representatives. Collins is among 82 freshman representatives in the House.

McCarthy discusses Clinton's role in regional races

Oct 24, 2012

Former President Bill Clinton's recent visit to Rochester may play a key role in two close Congressional races.

Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy was on hand as the former President energized a Rochester audience last Friday in support of incumbent Representatives Kathy Hochul and Louise Slaughter

McCarthy sees Clinton's popularity in stark contrast with that of President Obama, especially in the 27th Congressional district where Democrat Hochul is trying to fend off Republican challenger Chris Collins.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Koteras Elibol l WNED Art Director l Photographer

The candidates in the 27th Congressional District, Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) and former Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R), met for their first debate Tuesday evening at the WNED studios in downtown Buffalo.

Hochul and Collins sparred in a 50-minute debate moderated by WBFO News Director Jim Ranney. The candidates took questions from three area journalists: Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News, Claudine Ewing of WGRZ-TV and Julie Phillip of WXXI in Rochester, as well as e-mailers.   

A veteran of many panels at area political debates, Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy believes Tuesday night's debate between Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins was one of the best he has witnessed.

McCarthy was among the panelists at the studios of WNED-TV who posed questions to the candidates in the race for the 27th Congressional district.

As McCarthy sees it, both candidates were very clear in their positions and avoided many of the platitudes that bring little value to political discussions.

Hochul takes fundraising lead

Oct 17, 2012
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While the polls show a deadlocked race in the 27th Congressional district, campaign finance reports show Democrat Kathy Hochul surging ahead in the always important money race.

The Buffalo News reports Hochul raised $717,000 in the months of July, August and September, compared to the $321,000 raised by Collins, though the Republican added another $400,000 from his own personal fortune.

The records do not reflect any funds gathered during the October visit from House Speaker John Boehner on behalf of the Collins' campaign.

In his weekly Morning Edition conversation with WBFO News, Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy said nearly $2 million in outside money has flooded into the district and onto the airwaves in the form of political ads.

"Some of these groups are not obliged to report their contributors," McCarthy said. "It opens up a whole new world for money in politics."

While many outside observers are crying foul over the emerging practice, insiders feel otherwise.

"As far as those people (political campaigns) are concerned, it's good."

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Lancaster Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli has proven to be quite a controversial leader since assuming office on January 1st.  He's a proponent of limiting the financial incentives granted by the region's various industrial development agencies.  Fudoli then targeted town employee unions for criticism by describing public employees as being the "unproductive" segment of the economy.  Finally, he admitted late last month that he has not paid property taxes on various properties he owns. 

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The race for the 27th Congressional District is a dead heat, that according to a recent poll conducted by the Buffalo News, WGRZ and Sienna College.

The poll found a mere 2% edge for Republican Chris Collins over incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul. The margin of error for the poll is near 4%.  7% of those queried remain undecided.

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Tax returns took center stage this week in the heated battle for the 27th Congressional district.

Earlier this week, Democratic Representative Kathy Hochul offered the public a look at the her salary and that of her husnand, U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

The figures produced fodder for her Republican foe, Chris Collins, who said the Hochuls have become millionaire's on the backs of taxpayers.

"She's not really this middle class person she pretends to be," said Collins.

Congresswoman Hochul refuted the attacks.

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

 Former Erie County Executive Chris Collins has clearly glided past  former Iraq War veteran David Bellavia in the Republican primary for the 27th Congressional District.

In Erie County with 94% of the votes counted,  Collins held a major lead with 74% to Bellavai's 26% of the vote. 

After losing a hard-fought race for a second term as Erie County executive, Collins earned vindication Tuesday night in the race for the GOP nod against Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul in what is a heavily-Republican district.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

The race for the Republican nod in the 27th Congressional District election is heating up, and the challengers are ponying up their own money.

David Bellavia has loaned $45,000 to his campaign, while Chris Collins, with deeper pockets, has loaned his effort $250,000.

The primary election looms on June 26th, and Collins suggests that the real fund raising will begin after the winner of that vote is announced.

GOP split over candidates in 27th primary race

May 9, 2012
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Chris Collins's congressional campaign is picking up endorsements as Republicans take sides in the approaching GOP primary in the 27th District.

Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Jack Mills and Niagara County Legislature Chairman William Ross are backing Collins. Both will serve as campaign chairs in their  respective counties.

Collins' opponent David Bellavia has earned several endorsements from notable officials, including State Senator George Maziarz and Genesee County Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

The New York State Conservative Party has given its endorsement to former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, in his run for the Congressional seat currently held by Democrat Kathy Hochul.

Collins and Iraqi war veteran David Bellavia had also been soliciting the Conservative party support. Both candidates are on the state primary ballot for the Republican endorsement.

Party leaders met in Brooklyn Thursday.  Party chairman Michael Long said Collins earned the endorsement by a "very high majority."

WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Political lines are being drawn as the Republican candidates battle for their party's nomination in New York's 27th Congressional district.

State Senator George Maziarz is endorsing Iraq War veteran David Bellavia, bypassing the better-financed candidacy of former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.

The move follows the endorsement of the Orleans County Republican Party, which is also backing Bellavia.

The Buffalo News is reporting that three-time Congressional candidate Jack Davis is providing financial support to Bellavia's campaign.

WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

With a June primary ahead, Republicans David Bellavia and Chris Collins are getting active and taking shots at each other.

On Tuesday, Bellavia, the decorated Iraq War veteran, challenged Colins to a series of eight debates, one for each county in the sprawling 27th district.

Bellavaia says it's the best way to explore the many issues of importance to district constituents.

Collins called the debate idea "premature." 

The former Erie County Executive dismissed Bellavia as a "candidate whose campaign is floundering."

WBFO News file photo

Republican former Erie County Executive Chris Collins has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the 27th Congressional District race.

Collins made the announcement on Saturday in an interview with the Buffalo News. Should Collins survive a June primary against fellow Republican David Bellavia, he would face incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul in November.

Collins suffered a stinging defeat in his re-election bid for County Executive to Mark Poloncarz. In a special election, Hochul upset Jane Corwin, a Republican candidate, who was heavily supported by Collins.