Eight potential candidates for Rep. Chris Collins seat in the 27th District gathered together, forum style.

Collins stepped down from his campaign on Saturday as he faces federal charges for insider trading.

Though all different, the candidates agreed the GOP cannot, and will try their hardest, to not lose this spot in Washington.

“There’s no endorsement,” John Pauer, the Livingston County GOP chair, said.

Pauer made it very clear that Wednesday’s forum was much more of a meet-and-great than a final decision.

“At least hear them to at least understand who they are, because if one of them does become
the candidate going forward, they have a name and face,” Pauer said.

One by one, the GOP candidates arrived in Livingston County. Senators, politicians, and businessmen alike, attempting to win over the 27th district. Assemblyman Steve Hawley came first, saying he’s there for the people.

“This is about representing people and having a feel for what it is they need and I think what they need is a calm, steady, yet firm hand,” Hawley said.

Erie County politicians, such as Ed Rath and Stefan Mychajliw, gave examples of how they know agriculture, something specific to Livingston County. Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer and Sen. Robert Ortt focused on how they know the constituents and how money to fund a campaign necessarily won’t be an issue.

“I’m confident I can raise the money and get out there and make sure people know who I am,” Ortt said.

When it comes to jobs, Assemblyman Ray Walter said the economy needs to be a bigger focus.

“Those are the policies that Nate McMurray wants to emulate,” Walter said. “We need to be focused on creating greater opportunities for the people of the 27th district.

Overall, these men spoke on how the GOP candidate needs to represent the people.

As for the timeline, that is still unclear. Candidates are still going to be interviewed and a final name will be selected when that is finished.

Hear more of what the candidates said here: