State GOP Suing Cuomo To Force NY-27 Special Election ASAP

The New York State Republican Party filed a lawsuit Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Monroe County asking a judge to compel the governor to call a special election as soon as possible for NY’s vacant 27th Congressional seat.

“We feel no choice here but to sue Governor Cuomo to do his job, just like other political leaders have had to do in the past, to call a special election within this district,” state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said.

Republican Chris Collins resigned in late September, a day ahead of his guilty plea on federal insider trading charges. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, is mandated by law to call a special election to fill the opening but has typically had discretion as to when he calls it.

Cuomo has indicated on several occasions – including during a stop in Western New York last week – he is leaning toward holding the election on April 28, 2020 – the same day as the presidential primary.  The governor said it makes fiscal sense to hold the elections on the same day when there will already be staff, polling places, and voting machines available.

He pointed out a special election can easily cost taxpayers more than $1 million. However, Republicans believe holding the congressional special and presidential primary at the same time would give Democrats an unfair advantage since there will be no GOP primary race.

NY-27 is widely-considered the reddest district in the state, but an already-indicted Collins barely defeated Democrat Nate McMurray in 2018. Some, including McMurray – who is expected to be the party’s designee again – believe an April 28 election could help push him over the edge.

“(Cuomo’s) had six weeks to get the job done,” Langworthy said. “He hasn’t done it. He’s clinging to a date that he expects to try to rig the outcome of this election and we’re not going to stand for it.”

The lawsuit however, doesn’t explicitly mention the April 28 date. Rather it makes the argument the 750,000 residents in the district aren’t getting the representation they are entitled to under the Constitution.

Langworthy said that is the crux of the problem.

“They’re without representation at the federal level for a long time,” he said. “Even if we had a special election in April, at the end of April, think about how much time has elapsed that they’ve had no voice in Congress.

Last year, seven voters in the state’s 25th Congressional district sued Cuomo to force an earlier special election, as well. However, a judge threw that suit out after the plaintiffs failed to show cause regarding why the case should not be dismissed.

In a separate 2015 case, a judge did set a deadline for the governor to call the election to replace convicted NY-11 Rep. Michael Grimm or the court would do it for him. Langworthy said this challenge is very similar.

“The governor lost that lawsuit,” he said. “He had to call the special election in Staten Island. I believe the same will happen here.”

However, if the February 20 deadline set in the Grimm case was held as the standard, it would still allow Cuomo to still call the NY-27 election on April 28. Langworthy said this is a different timeline and believes the deadline would be sooner.

The suit asked for the judge to require the governor to issue the proclamation for the election within 5 days of a court order. Under the law, the election must be held between 70 and 80 days of the declaration.

Langworthy and two individual voters are listed as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Cuomo is the lone defendant.

We’ve reached out to the governor’s office for comment.

NY-27: GOP Lawsuit by Ryan Whalen on Scribd

NY-27: Cuomo Still Leaning Toward April For Special Election – Unless GOP Wants To Foot The Bill

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, has a legal responsibility to call a special election to fill the state’s vacant 27th Congressional District seat.

He also has discretion as to when to schedule. Tuesday in Western New York, the governor said he’s still working on a final decision but continues to lean toward April 28, 2020.

He said it just seems to make sense since the state already has a presidential primary election scheduled for that day.

“What people have to remember, special elections, first of all, are very expensive. An election is  no longer one day. An election is now a ten day affair,” Cuomo said.

“That means you have to pay people to come to the polls for ten days, open up the polls. It’s easily over a million dollars and fewer people participate in the special election because it’s scheduled on a short time frame,” he said. “It’s not a normal election day and people have lives to live. And they want to participate. They want to vote, but make it easy for me to vote. We have an election coming up in April. It’s a major election. People are coming to vote any way. My inclination is save the million dollars and lets hold the election in April which is a regularly scheduled election, doesn’t cost us the million dollars, we get more turn out.”

Of course, in his explanation the governor failed to mention only Democrats are voting in a presidential primary. That means Republicans, in the typically red NY-27 would not have the extra reason to turnout the vote.

It’s a disadvantage not lost on the state GOP chair, Nick Langworthy, who has repeatedly called on the governor to call the election as soon as possible.

“They (Republicans) are in the business of complaining we know that. So whatever we do it’s not going to stop that,” Cuomo said. “If they want to pay the million dollars for a special election then I would think twice.”

The law requires the special election to be held within 70 and 80 days of the governor’s announcement so if he’s aiming for late April, it wouldn’t come until February. Cuomo mentioned those time restrictions are the reason he is waiting to make a move right now.

EC Dems Could Potentially Endorse In SD-60 And NY-27 Thursday

The Erie County Democratic Committee executive committee is meeting Thursday evening with several high profile 2020 races potentially on the agenda.

Sources said the committee plans to interview current Assemblyman Sean Ryan about his run for New York’s 60th State Senate District. They expect the committee will vote and announce Ryan’s endorsement shortly afterward.

Republican state Senator Chris Jacobs currently holds the seat but isn’t expected to run for re-election. He is instead campaigning for the open 27th Congressional District, vacated by convicted Republican Chris Collins.

ECDC could also make a decision on NY-27 special election Thursday. The governor has not called the election yet but 2018 candidate Nate McMurray’s campaign has already announced seven of eight county chairs in the district support him.

Those chairs account for roughly 51 percent of a weighted vote to designate a candidate for the special. However, Erie County Chair Jeremy Zellner accounts for the other 49 percent of the vote and has indicated he will not rush his decision just because the other chairs said they support McMurray.

He said he has to work through the endorsement process with members of the committee. McMurray confirmed he plans to attend the executive committee meeting Thursday evening.

Sources said he could potentially be endorsed afterward, as well, if the committee takes a vote. Health and education advocate Melodie Baker has also expressed interest in the Democratic designation.

NY-27: SuperPAC Targets Special Election Influencers With ‘Enormous’ Anti-Jacobs Mailers

From the Morning Memo:

Conservative super PAC Club for Growth is continuing its assault on the congressional campaign for Republican candidate Chris Jacobs.

The organization, which has already spent tens of thousands of dollars on anti-Jacobs radio and television advertisements, has now launched a direct mail campaign as well. Club for Growth Action, the SuperPAC arm of the group, said it has sent out four separate mailers.

It said the targets are Republican County Chairs, GOP “influencers” and members of the Conservative Party Executive Committee. All of those targets will likely have a say on the candidate designation process when the governor calls a special election in New York’s 27th District.

The messaging is in line with the earlier media buys. They portray the current state Senator Jacobs as a Republican In Name Only (RINO), someone who is pro-Democrat, against President Donald Trump and wastes taxpayer money.

The Jacobs campaign deferred to its past statement which pointed out Club for Growth helped lead an anti-Trump push before the 2016 election, while the candidate has since said he voted for the Republican nominee.

“This false attack has already been disproven, but it is rich that the very same special interest group of career politicians and D.C. lobbyists who led the never-Trump movement is now attacking me for being insufficiently supportive of our president. Another sad example of why the swamp must be drained, but D.C. insiders won’t choose the next member of Congress from Western New York, that decision will be made by Western New Yorkers,” campaign spokesperson Cam Savage said.

However, what stands out about the mailers is their size. Each one is 12 inches by 15 inches, front and back with full color.

People who received the mail have called them “enormous” and “very graphic.” Copies obtained by Spectrum News show $1 postage stamps for each individual piece.

“It’s going to be a difficult process,” one source said of the coming weeks and months after seeing the direct mail.

Club for Growth also said “more is coming” although it did not indicate whether that meant mail, broadcast and digital ads, or all of the above. The organization has interviewed candidate Beth Parlato and prospective candidate Stefan Mychajliw but has not issued an endorsement yet.

CFGA-01-Jacobs CFGA-02-Jacobs CFGA-03-Jacobs CFGA-04-Jacobs

NY-27: McMurray Secures Endorsement From Niagara County Dem Chair

As the Western New York political world turns its attention to the state’s 27th congressional district, Democratic candidate Nate McMurray has secured his first major endorsement.

McMurray’s campaign announced he has the support of Niagara County Democratic Committee Chairman Jason Zona. The seat has been vacant since late-September when Republican Chris Collins resigned shortly before pleading guilty to federal insider trading charges.

The governor is required by law to call a special election and has indicated he prefer it happen in April, at the same time as the already-scheduled Democratic presidential primary. Once called, the party chairs for the eight counties in the district will designate candidates.

“Nate did well in Niagara County last year against a strong political machine and has a lot of grassroots support throughout much of the county. As county chair, I support him in a special election run, and I anticipate the members of our county committee will do so as well when we convene in the near future,” Zona said.

Zona is the first county chair to publicly endorse McMurray this cycle, although the candidate did have the support of the local committees when he ran in 2018. McMurray narrowly lost to the already-indicted Collins in New York’s reddest district.

“I am proud to have the support of Jay Zona as I run to finish the job we started in 2018. For too long, this district that has been without real representation in Washington. I am running to restore honor and integrity to this position, and will continue to fight for the resources our working families need – good healthcare, well-paying jobs, and better infrastructure. While we wait for the special election to be called, it is empowering to know I have Jay on my side,” McMurray said.

Even before Collins resigned, a handful of Republicans had already announced their intentions to run in a June primary. Others may still enter the race.

McMurray is the only announced Democrat so far.


Conservative Super PAC Starts Anti-Chris Jacobs Campaign

What’s expected to be a hotly contested Republican primary in New York State 27th District is already getting some outside attention.

A major conservative super PAC called Club for Growth spent $7,751 on air time this week on Buffalo political talk radio station WBEN. The ad, which started this morning, called Republican front-runner Chris Jacobs a RINO Republican in Name Only, claimed he gave himself a pay raise in the state Senate and said he does not back President Donald Trump.

Jacobs defended his conservative record.

“This false attack has already been disproven, but it is rich that the very same special interest group of career politicians and D.C. lobbyists who led the never-Trump movement is now attacking me for being insufficiently supportive of our President. Another sad example of why the swamp must be drained, but D.C. insiders won’t choose the next member of Congress from Western New York, that decision will be made by Western New Yorkers,” he said of the ad.

This comes a day after Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia officially announced he would not run for the seat. Club for Growth made the ad buy on Friday and it is unclear if the group was anticipating Bellavia’s departure from the fray.

The super PAC was reportedly considering backing Bellavia. However, current Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said he has interviewed with Club for Growth and will make a final decision on whether to run in the next few days.

Mychajliw was waiting on Bellavia’s decision. Jacobs has reported already raising more than $1 million dollars although political observers expect Club for Growth could spend significant resources opposing him as well.

Other announced Republicans include state Senator Rob Ortt, Fox News contributor Beth Parlato, and healthcare company employee Frank Smierciak.

Collins Resigns House Seat

Rep. Chris Collins on Monday resigned his seat in the House of Representatives effectively immediately as he prepares to enter a guilty plea in his insider trading case.

The resignation was made official in letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Collins, a former Erie County executive who staged a political comeback by defeating Kathy Hochul in 2012, is accused of dumping shares in a company he had invested in and warning his son to also divest in the company ahead of its expected slump.

Collins’s seat is in a deep red portion of the state and he was a prominent backer of President Donald Trump, becoming the first member of Congress to endorse his campaign in 2016.

Collins won re-election last year against Democrat Nate McMurray just three months after he was indicted on insider trading charges.

This year, three Republicans have already filed to run for the party’s nomination in the 27th congressional district — a tacit reflection of Collins’s vulnerability heading into 2020.

“It is vital that we continue to have a strong, conservative voice representing the residents of New York’s 27th Congressional District and elect a candidate who will defend President Trump’s agenda,” said one of the candidates, Sen. Robert Ortt.

“I am the only candidate in this race who has proven that they are willing to do both. It is time that we send a battle-tested patriot to Washington who will stand up for our district, stand up to the Party of Impeachment, and push back against the radical socialists running our nation’s Democrat Party.”

Source: Ortt To Announce NY-27 Candidacy

A source says Republican state Senator Rob Ortt will announce his candidacy Saturday for New York’s 27th Congressional District.

A press advisory, sent Friday afternoon, said he would hold two press conferences for a “special announcement” regarding the district – the first in Niagara County and the second in Genesee County. Ortt will be the third Republican to officially enter the 2020 race.

His state Senate colleague Chris Jacobs announced earlier this year, as did attorney and Fox News contributor Beth Parlato. Incumbent Congressman Chris Collins, who faces federal insider trading charges, is fundraising but said he doesn’t plan to make a final decision until later this year.

Prominently in the advisory, Ortt is identified as a Bronze Star recipient – a military decoration awarded for heroic or meritorious service. That is likely a reminder, as many have pushed for recent Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia to enter the race, that Ortt is a decorated veteran as well.

Last weekend, Democrat Nate McMurray, who narrowly lost to Collins in 2018, also entered the race.

Jacobs Sees Good Signs In NY-27 Poll

From the Morning Memo:

A poll released last week had current state Senator Chris Jacobs trailing incumbent Chris Collins Ina potential Republican primary for New York’s 27th District.

More likely primary voters also said they preferred recent Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia than Jacobs should Collins end up not running. But for the candidate who was the first to announce and has raised the most money, sitting in second ain’t bad.

“I take a lot of good things out of this poll, that we are beginning in a good place. We’re starting to get momentum and I’m very happy and we’re walking away from this poll encouraged,” Jacobs said.

He said he was not surprised at all that Collins fared well in the poll despite the fact the congressman still faces federal insider trading charges.

“Obviously Chris is the incumbent, has been around and served the district but I think that as I’ve said, in the past he’s done some very good things but unfortunately right now, due to his arrest and indictment, I just don’t think he can effectively represent this district,” Jacobs said. “He can’t serve on committees and I think the 27th District deserves that.”

As for Bellavia, Jacobs said he has great respect for the veteran. However, right now he doesn’t expect him to run.

“He has said he’s not interested,” he said. “I take him at his word. Certainly, he has every right later on to re-evaluate and if he does that, I certainly will too.”

The Republican also said he wasn’t surprised Democrat Nate McMurray, the 2018 challenger, announced he’s running again in 2020. He pointed out McMurray narrowly came within defeating Collins last year.

“I think it’s very important to hold this district in Republican hands to support President Trump,” Jacobs said. “The only way that this will flip is if Chris Collins is in the race because he will likely lose in the general election.”

He said the state’s reddest district will not be vulnerable as long as any GOP candidate besides Collins gets the nomination.


NY-27: McMurray Running For Congress Again

It’s official.

Democrat Nate McMurray is giving it another go in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

McMurray lost to incumbent Republican Chris Collins last year in one of the country’s closest contests. The campaign gained national attention as the district is widely considered the reddest in the state.

“I have a lot of fire for NY-27 and I’m excited about doing it again,” he said.

Over the last year, McMurray said he never really stopped campaigning and meeting with voters. That was particularly obvious on social media where he regularly voiced opinions on issues like gun control and criticized Collins and President Donald Trump.

Yet, after a grueling 2018 experience, he admitted he was hesitant to jump back into the fray for 2020.

“It was hard to full commit because I know what this takes. It’s such a personal commitment,” he said. “It’s so difficult emotionally. It’s difficult on your family.”

One of the reasons the race was likely close to begin with last year was Collins was indicted on federal insider trading charges. Those charges are now a year old and the incumbent recently fared well in a poll testing against Republican challengers.

However, McMurray believes many of the same conditions still exist as two year ago and noted Collins is still scheduled to stand trial in February 2020.

“It’s different but right now we’re in the same place we were in a year ago. Chris Collins is still indicted. There’s other people saying they want to take his place and the biggest difference is I’m stronger than I was a year ago,” he said.

Collins has not actually announced whether he plans to seek his fifth term but McMurray believes he will. He said the Republicans recent $500,000 loan to his campaign account indicates that and expedited McMurray’s own decision.

“I think his best way of staying out of jail and preserving his freedom is to try to hold onto that seat as long as possible and I know firsthand, better than anybody, how hard he will fight to hold onto that seat and I don’t foresee him dropping out,” he said.

Two Republican, current state Senator Chris Jacobs and Fox News contributor Beth Parlato, have already announced they are running for the seat. McMurray becomes the first Democrat and believes he will have a clear path to the party’s nomination.

He said he’ll start off with more institutional support than he did in 2018, particularly from national Dems who were slow to enter the race last year.

“To win we need to do a lot of the same things we did before but we need to improve and get better and we have already looked at the numbers from last time, we see where we were weak and we know how to strengthen those areas and we also need to raise more money,” he said.

McMurray said the contest is about more than just the charges Collins faces. He plans to focus on issues like joblessness around the district and improving the agriculture industry.