New York’s 27th Congressional District is back in the spotlight, just six months after a contested race was won by Rep. Chris Collins.
If he wants to win re-election again in 2020, Collins will have to fend off a challenge from within his own party. On Friday, State Senator Chris Jacobs announced he’ll see the Republican line.
Jacobs is also the former Erie County Clerk and New York Secretary of State.
Collins is currently serving his fourth term in Congress. He was indicted on federal insider trading charges last summer, just two months before winning re-election by defeating Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray. Collins is scheduled to go to trial in February 2020.
“I think we need to make sure this seat is held (by a Republican) and held with a congressman who can fully serve in the seat,” Jacobs said. “Right now, Mr. Collins is not able to participate on committees because of his indictment.”
Collins has not yet decided if he’ll run for a fifth term in 2020. But he is already attacking Jacobs.
“(T)he last thing we need in this seat is a never-Trump Republican who supports abortion rights and has supported savings plans and taxpayer-funded legal aid for illegal immigrants,” Collins said in a statement. “That would be the same as electing a Democrat.”
Jacobs said he expects other Republicans to enter the race as well. One currently considering doing so is Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.
“As far as Chris Jacobs is concerned, I’m not going to let an Albany moderate, never-Trumper dictate my methodical decision making process,” Mychajliw said.
New York State’s 60th Senate District, a seat which Jacobs has had for two terms, leans left. Republicans are outnumbered by nearly 40,000 voters. Conversely, the 27th Congressional District is heavily Republican and pro-Trump.
“I want to support this president,” Jacobs said. “I think he’s going to win re-election. I think it’s important to have a congressman in that seat that can work with the president to continue to push for the reforms and agenda that he’s been pushing for.”
No Democrats have decided to officially enter the race yet. However, McMurray has been traveling across the district in recent months.
“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,” McMurray said. “Hyper-partisanship is the last thing the people of Western New York need right now.”