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.

NY-27 Poll: Embattled Collins Still Favored In GOP Primary

Republican Congressman Chris Collins may still be the favorite in a 2020 GOP primary for New York’s 27th Congressional District despite the cloud of a federal insider trading trial hanging over his office.

That’s the headline from a new poll conducted by Western New York-based company Tel Opinion Research. Live interviewers spoke over the phone with 500 “Republicans with a history of voting in Republican primary elections” in the district.

Collins, who has maintained his innocence, has yet to make a decision about whether he will seek another term and his trial is scheduled for February 2020. Meanwhile, two GOP candidates so far, state Senator Chris Jacobs and attorney Beth Parlato, have officially announced their candidacy.

If the incumbent faced just those candidates in a primary today, 34 percent of those polled said they would vote for Collins with another 11 percent saying they would lean toward him. Twenty-one percent said they would vote for Jacobs with another 6 percent leaning toward him, while only 4 percent said they’d vote for Parlato.

That’s noteworthy since a year ago the congressman squeaked out a victory by less than half a percentage point over Democrat Nate McMurray, following his indictment, in what’s widely considered the state’s reddest seat. The poll confirmed the district still strongly supports the president, with eight of ten voters approving of the job Donald Trump is doing.

Collins also saw a relatively high favorability rating with 60 percent saying they had either a favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of him. A quarter of those polled did say they had an unfavorable opinion of the congressman.

The poll also considered the possibility of Collins not running in 2020, which GOP pollster and Tel Opinion Vice President Barry Zeplowitz noted would be likely should he not be acquitted in February. Tel Opinion asked about a number of potential Republican candidates who have not announced their intentions yet, including recent Medal Of Honor recipient David Bellavia, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, state Senator Rob Ortt and Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Among all those candidates not named Chris Collins, the poll suggested Bellavia would be the front runner.

His favorability rating was at 58 percent and 33 percent said he was their preferred candidate if the incumbent didn’t run. Jacobs came in second on that question with roughly a quarter saying they would vote for him if Collins wasn’t in the race.

Zeplowitz pointed out there are several important factors to consider about the survey results. Not least important, a lot can change over the next ten months, it’s still unclear who will get in the race and Jacobs has a significant fundraising headstart over other candidates.

He also noted the president could have a significant impact on the race, should he choose to weigh in. Two out of three voters polled said it was at least somewhat likely they would support any candidate who Trump publicly supported.

The poll did not ask who voters would prefer if Collins were to run against Bellavia. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percent.

nypoll by Anonymous JTOvBZl on Scribd

NY-27: McMurrary Files 2020 Statement Of Candidacy With FEC

Democrat Nate McMurray filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission for New York’s 27th Congressional District earlier this week.

However, McMurray said the filing does not necessarily mean he is running for the seat again. He said he wants the campaign to be in compliance should he chose to announce this quarter.

In 2018, McMurray very narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Chris Collins, who was and still is facing federal charges related to insider trading. He has said if Collins runs for reelection, he would challenge him again, but the congressman has not made a decision yet.

The Democrat’s 2018 campaign committee had remained active and he has roughly $24,000 on hand. In the first two quarters of this year, McMurray reported raising a little more than $26,000 and spending just over $15,000.

Republicans Chris Jacobs and Beth Parlato have officially announced their plans to run in NY-27. Jacobs has three-quarters of a million dollars on hand while Parlato hopes to raise more than $400,000 this quarter.

Collins meanwhile, lent his campaign $500,000 and said if he runs he is willing and capable of self-financing.

Fmr. Trump Campaign Staffer Joins Stable Of Republicans Considering Run For NY-27

Western New York Republican strategist Michael Caputo has made his living working behind the scenes.

He signed on as a writer for Rep. Jack Kemp’s presidential primary campaign in the late 80s, served as Carl Paladino’s gubernatorial campaign manager more than two decades later, and most recently worked for the Trump presidential bid three years ago.  He said, all the while, he was never interested in running for office himself.

That might be changing with Caputo confirming he is in the preliminary stages of considering a run for New York’s 27th Congressional District next year. The seat is currently held by Republican Chris Collins, who has not yet decided whether he’ll seek re-election.

“It’s different now,” he said.

Caputo’s profile has increased in the last few years, for some reasons he’d likely appreciate and others not as much. He has become a regular contributor on national cable news stations, most regularly CNN as a conservative pundit, and also host his own podcast and fills in on local talk radio.

He also has made his own headlines, testifying before Congress in connection to the Russian collusion investigation and interviewing with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Caputo has complained often the investigation has caused his family serious financial stress and even led to death threats.

He said the process that led to that is the primary reason he’s considering public office.

“I want to do something to reform the processes violated during the Russia hoax. I’ve been trying to find a way to do that,” Caputo said.

The strategist runs in a tight circle of friends including in WBEN radio host David Bellavia, Assemblyman David DiPietro (R-East Aurora), and Paladino. He said he’s currently “tapping their advice.”

All three have expressed interest in NY-27 in the past and Caputo said he would never want them to run against each other. Tea Party organizer Rus Thompson, who also worked on the Paladino campaign, has expressed interest on social media as well.

“He can add to the discussion,” Caputo said. “He’s a smart guy with energy.”

Others Republicans who have expressed interest include Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, state Senator Rob Ortt and state Senator Chris Jacobs who became the first to officially announce his candidacy last week.

NY-27: Chris Jacobs Responds To Criticism – ‘I Voted For The President’

In the midst of his 2016 campaign for state Senate, Republican Chris Jacobs appeared on Capital Tonight to discuss the race.

Before ending the interview, host Liz Benjamin slipped in one more question.

“We have talked about the Donald Trump factor in this race. Are you supportive of his candidacy?” she asked.

Jacobs quickly deflected, offering a similar answer as he had to other reporters who pushed the same issue.

“I am 100 percent focused on my campaign. I’m running for state office and that’s what all my efforts are going on right now and I just finished the primary and, as you said, this is going to be a steep hill to run this year and that’s all I’m focused on,” he replied.

The Republican’s stance throughout that campaign was his preference for president shouldn’t factor in to a state race. However, his reluctance to answer the question could be coming back to haunt him as he sets his sight on New York’s 27th Congressional District.

Since Jacobs announced his campaign for what’s widely considered the state’s reddest seat, the playbook of his potential rivals has been clear. They’ve called him a moderate and a “Never Trumper” and have already referenced that September 2016 interview with Benjamin several times.

The latest was a fundraising email from incumbent Rep. Chris Collins, R, who has not yet decided whether he’ll seek re-election but does not support Jacobs.

“With the radical Left laser-focused on resistance and obstruction, President Trump needs allies in Congress now more than ever,” Collins wrote. “Chris Jacobs may act like he’s that type of ally – but in reality, he’s a Never-Trumper who will say and do anything to get elected to his next office. We may not know who Jacobs voted for in 2016, but we do know he refused to support President Trump in 2016 when he was running for office in a Democrat district.”

On Tuesday, Jacobs was far more forthcoming about 2016 than he has in the past, perhaps trying to nip the criticism in the bud early.

“I voted for the president, I support his agenda and I’m running for Congress because the president needs somebody in the 27th congressional district who can win this seat in 2020 and help move his agenda in Congress,” he said.

He argued it is Collins, in fact, who is unable to support the Trump agenda because he is facing federal charges and his scope in office has been limited as a result.

Jacobs on NY-27 Campaign: ‘We Need Someone That’s Able To Be Fully Effective’

There is still 18 months until the 2020 congressional elections, but state Senator Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, is getting an early start on his campaign for New York’s 27th District.

Jacobs said he is currently putting together an organizational structure, has hired a consultant and opened a campaign account.

“We want to make sure that this seat is held in Republican hands for the next term and the foreseeable future,” he said.

Jacobs said he expressed interest in the position last fall when incumbent Rep. Chris Collins briefly suspended his campaign after being indicted on federal insider trading charges. Collins ultimately decided to run and won a narrow contest against Democrat Nate McMurray, but Jacobs said the position has been on his mind since.

“I always had hoped there was an opportunity to serve in the Congress,” he said. “My first job out of college was working for former Congressman Jack Kemp down in Washington D.C. and the thought of representing this area in Washington would be just such a great honor.”

Collins has not decided yet whether he’ll run for re-election again in 2020. His trial is scheduled for February.

Regardless, he was critical of Jacobs on Friday.

“While I haven’t made a final decision on running for re-election, the last thing we need in this seat is a never-Trump Republican who supports abortion rights and has supported savings plans and taxpayers funded legal aid for illegal immigrants,” he said in a statement. “That would be the same as electing a Democrat.  I ran for re-election to assure that President Trump had an ally in this seat.  The President can count on me to assure he has an ally in 2020.”

Jacobs said he is prepared to face the incumbent in a primary, if necessary.

“I am not trying to be disrespectful to Chris Collins. I just believe that we need someone that’s able to be fully effective in that seat and unfortunately, due to the legal problems he is dealing with right now and will be dealing with through next year, he’s not able to serve in committees right now, he’s done good things for the district in the past but I don’t think he can moving forward.”

Even if Collins decides not to run, Jacobs said he’s fully expecting a primary against other Republicans for the seat.

“This is a congressional seat. There’s not many of them in the area. I think there will be others interested and I believe campaigns are good. I believe primaries are good.”

That could be Collins ally and current Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, who also put his name in the ring last summer and has been canvassing the district since. Mychajliw said Friday, he would make his decision on his own timeline but echoed the congressman’s criticisms of Jacobs.

“Chris Jacobs is an Albany moderate, pro-abortion, pro-illegal immigrant moderate whose values are the exact opposite of President Trump’s and the voters of NY-27,” he said.

Jacobs pointed out he voted against the “abortion expansion” bill and the DREAM Act in the state legislature. He has been reluctant in the past to discuss who he voted for president in 2016.

He said he is willing to have the debate with any takers but believes his voting record will resonate in the district.

“It’s understandable that some would see an opportunity in Collins’ legal predicament, but let’s not pretend that Collins was an effective leader prior to that. Our grassroots network has been fighting for the people of the 27th congressional district well before his indictment last August, and never stopped. When others were silent, we were fearless,” McMurray said in a statement. “I think it’s unfortunate that anyone would evaluate running in this district based on personal political gain, or in order to keep it in Republican hands. Hyper partisanship is the last thing the people of Western New York need right now; and the voters here confirmed that last November by re-electing Collins by a mere .37%. The district went purple and people crossed party lines. It shows that business as usual will no longer fly. We will continue to prepare for whatever comes next, and look for opportunities to bring people together.”

State Senator Chris Jacobs Is Running For New York’s 27th Congressional Seat

Republican state Senator Chris Jacobs is running for New York’s 27th Congressional District in 2020.

His congressional campaign manager confirmed a Buffalo News report Thursday morning. The seat is currently held by Republican Chris Collins, who is facing federal insider trading charges.

“It’s very important to put someone in that seat who is a strong advocate for the district,” Jacobs told the News. “Currently, I don’t believe he has the capacity to be effective because of the situation.”

Jacobs indicated he would primary Collins if necessary. The incumbent, whose trial is scheduled for February 2020, has said he has not decided yet whether he’ll run again.

In 2018, following the indictment, he briefly suspended his campaign and Republicans in the district were scouting a replacement. Jacobs was one of a stable of potential Republicans in consideration.

Ultimately, Collins unsuspended his campaign, at the advice of his attorneys and the disappointment of GOP leadership. He beat Democrat Nate McMurray by less than half a percentage point in the fall.

McMurray has not officially announced he will run again either, although he vowed a rematch of Collins is the candidate and is already fundraising.

Rep. Collins Still Debating 2020 Reelection Bid

Western New York Republican Chris Collins, facing federal insider trading charges, very narrowly won his congressional reelection bid, last fall.
When all the votes were tallied, Collins ended up beating his Democratic challenger, Nate McMurray, by less than half a percentage point in the mid-term race. McMurray has continued to be active on social media and in the community and has maintained the appearance of someone who plans on challenging the congressman again.

He half-confirmed his intentions Friday on Twitter, tweeting that if Collins runs again, he will too.

The Republican incumbent has not confirmed he will run for what would be his 5th term. Friday, he made it sound like the decision is still very much up in the air.

“I’m debating that,” he said. “We’ll debate within my family and you know, I’ve been there eight years and so that will be a decision for early next year, one that I’m not locked in on right now.”

Collins does not believe the close result in 2018 would be a reason not to run. In fact, he pointed out he received more votes than any other Republican candidate in New York and more than some members of House GOP leadership.

He said he would expect the total to be even higher for a presidential election year in a district in which President Donald Trump remains popular.

“140,000 people, probably in the nastiest election that there’s ever been, said they wanted me to come back as their member, so I would say that I’m in a pretty good spot,” he said. “Clearly, anyone that voted for me last time’s gonna do it again.”

Collins said if he runs, McMurray would be his “dream candidate to run against.” He said the Democrat is a far-left candidate who has moved even further left since last year.

The congressman noted the status of his ongoing federal litigation will weigh into his ultimate decision.