ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Indicted congressman Chris Collins will remain on the ballot in the November election in the 27th District.
Collins was indicted on insider trading charges in August. He then suspended his re-election campaign and Republican leaders from across the 27th have been meeting with candidates interested in taking his spot on the ballot.
Republican party bosses had also been considering running Collins for a seat in another office to get him off the ballot. But Erie County Republican chairman Nick Langworthy says Collins is no longer cooperating in that effort.
“This comes as a pretty great surprise to all of us who have worked very, very hard and then had the rug pulled out from under us,” Langworthy said at a Monday afternoon news conference.
Langworthy says Collins is taking the advice of his criminal attorneys, who are concened about legal challenges if his name were to be removed in the 27th.
“This is, obviously, not the avenue we’ve been trying to take,” Langworthy said. “Since the day of his indictment, we’ve been laying the groundwork to substitute him from the ballot, from hour one of that situation. This is something we did not expect.”
Just last week, Collins said publicly that he was working with Republican officials to substitute himself from the ballot.
Erie County Democratic Committee chairman Jeremy Zellner, on Monday, called efforts to run Collins for another office an “unfair, fraudulent scheme.”
“After weeks of attempting this fraud on the voters of the 27th Congressional District, Republican bosses are angry that Chris Collins has refused to go along,” Zellner said, in a statement.
“This community should never have been dragged through this process, and those who are responsible will be held accountable in November.”