Congressional seat wide open with Bellavia out of race

Local News

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – There is plenty of political maneuvering going on this week after David Bellavia announced he will not run for Congress. Bellavia was expected by many to be the front-runner in a crowded field for New York’s 27th Congressional District.

“Acting upon my long-standing and sincere desire to run for Congress at this time would require me to set aside pre-existing commitments I have made to my Army, my family, and those with whom I do business,” said Bellavia, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in June.

Aside from Bellavia, others were considering runs as well. They include Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychjaliw and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

“I’ve said all along that I would not run a divisive Republican primary against a sitting incumbent or a Medal of Honor winner,” said Mychajliw. “I kept my word. I’ll be making my decision very soon.”

“As the days unfold here and the election in November rolls around, I think that probably soon thereafter I’ll be able to make up my mind,” Hawley said.

The seat became vacant this month with Chris Collins’ resignation as he awaits sentencing in his insider trading case. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet called a special election, though he indicated he may do so to coincide with the presidential primary in April.

If that happens, the county chair-people in each of the eight counties across the district will select candidates for their line in the special election.

The seat will then be up for grabs again next November. Several Republicans, including State Senator Chris Jacobs, State Senator Rob Ortt, and attorney Beth Parlato, as well as Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray have said they will be running.

Jacobs found himself under fire Monday as an attack ad hit the airwaves. It is funded by the conservative group “Club for Growth Action”, and questions his support for President Donald Trump.

New York’s 27th Congressional District is pro-Trump. In an October 2018 Siena poll, 56 percent of people who responded said they approved of the job Trump was doing at the time. That compares to 38 percent of people who disapproved.

“D.C. insiders won’t choose the next member of Congress from Western New York,” Jacobs said in response to the ad. “That decision will be made by Western New Yorkers. My conservative record of defending taxpayers, supporting term limits, and standing up for the second amendment and my proven ability to win tough elections will be the differentiator in this race and we are undeterred.”

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