Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, D-NY, is not thinking about what could have been.

In April, national party leaders were made a last minute push, with the help of the governor, to try to get her on the ballot against Republican Congressman Chris Collins in New York’s 27th Congressional District. Hochul rejected the effort, choosing to continue her campaign for reelection as LG instead.

The thought at the time was that Hochul, who once held the seat, would have a significantly better chance of defeating Collins than the Democratic designee, current Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray. However, in the state’s strongest Republican district, even a candidate as well-known as the lieutenant governor would likely enter as an underdog.

This week everything changed when federal prosecutors brought charges related to insider trading against Collins. Even as behind the scenes, GOP leaders are considering their options, the congressman insists his campaign will continue.

Suddenly, what seemed a likely Republican win has become a battleground seat with significant resources coming in from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Hochul said she loved representing the district (at the time called the 26th), but still prefers her current job.

“It was an absolute privilege to represent that area as a member of Congress and it breaks my heart to know that for the last six years they’ve been represented by someone who has put his own financial interests ahead of their own, but serving as lieutenant governor has given me a great deal of latitude in being able to represent the entire state and work on issues where you actually get things done,” she said.

Hochul said she is fully behind McMurray and believes he can win. Afterall, she came within 2 percentage points of beating Collins in 2012, even after it was redrawn to become even more Republican.

She believes people in the district can overlook the candidate’s party affiliation and realize he better represents their middle class values than the incumbent.

“I lost it by a very small percentage so it is in my opinion doable,” she said. “Those were difficult times and people were very much against the president at the time which was unfortunate because the president had good policies that helped people of that district. I think now there’s an opportunity for people to take a second look at who they want representing them in Congress.”

As for what Collins should do: Hochul said his legal battle will no doubt be a distraction but it’s up to him and his party to decide if he should resign. She said she doesn’t think he’s been properly serving the district for the last six years, so the constituents would not necessarily be better or worse off regardless of the decision.