Erin Cole, a Democrat and U.S. Army veteran who announced a 2018 challenge to Buffalo-area Republican Rep. Chris Collins in July, has already decided to terminate her campaign, announcing the decision in a brief press release late this afternoon that did not provide any specific reasons for her departure from the political arena.

“As a proud American, veteran and public servant, I believe it is time to replace partisan Republican Congressman Chris Collins,” Cole said. “Collins is currently facing an ethics investigation for alleged insider trading and he refuses to meet with us regarding our needs.”

“After exploring this race for the last two months, I have decided to end my campaign. I will support a strong Democratic challenge to Collins while continuing my work promoting economic development and supporting fellow veterans.”

“I have greatly appreciated the support and encouragement of so many wonderful people in WNY and the Finger Lakes. Together, we must elect a representative who puts this district first, not himself.”

Cole, who has worked for both state and federal governments, most recently as the international division leader for Global New York at ESDC, acknowledged during a Capital Tonight interview that her quest to oust Collins from the most Republican-dominated House district in the state was a longshot. But she said she always had a desire to “contribute to the greater good,” citing her military experience as proof that she has long been interested in public service.

In that same interview, Cole said she first considered running for Congress in 2016, but the timing wasn’t right. But a year later, she felt “ready” to take on the congressman, who has become an outspoken defender of, and frequent surrogate for, President Donald Trump.

Ryan Whalen reached out to Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, who said the party did not receive a heads up from Cole about her decision to drop out of the race, but also did not seem terribly worried about it. Zellner told Ryan he’s currently focused on the November elections, which he expects will set the tone for next year’s congressional midterm contests.

Several months ago, party leaders interviewed 10 candidates who are interested in taking on Collins, and have not yet made any endorsement decisions, the chairman said.

“We were working closely with all the grassroots leaders and the eight other county chairs working together to turn NY-27 blue,” Zellner said. “We always knew that there were other potential candidates out there. Nothing was set in stone. It’s still very early. There’s a lot of energy in that district to unseat Chris Collins and we’re still very excited about our prospects there.”