Winter election seems likely to replace Chris Collins

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Less than a day after Chris Collins announced plans to resign from Congress, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was giving strong indications he will call for a special election to fill the seat in the 27th Congressional District.

“Democrat or Republican, Western New York deserves representation, so I would be inclined to fill the vacancy sooner rather than later,” said Governor Cuomo.

Whenever he officially declares there will be a special election, it would have be held at least 70 days later, but within 80 days, setting up a strong possibility the special election could be in January.

The voters might not know until just weeks before which candidates are placed on the ballot by the party leaders of the eight counties, according Jeremy Zellner, a commissioner for the Erie County Board of Elections. “So the eight county leaders for the Republican party will gather, meet and make a nomination for their candidate and the same thing goes for the Democrats and we do that based on weighted vote of which about half is in Erie County.”

“The race is already on, believe me,” said political analyst Carl Calabrese, who notes it is still the most heavily Republican district in the state. “That is still a rock solid Republican seat and a rock solid pro-Donald Trump seat.”

Whoever wins a special election will have to run again in November. In fact eight years ago, after Chris Lee stepped down from Congress in disgrace, Kathy Hochul won the following special election, but then lost the general election the following year to Chris Collins. “What a fall from grace for an individual who basically misled and misrepresented his crimes to the people who were his voters,” said Hochul.

Calabrese, who helped Collins in his first political race decades ago, is more reserved in his judgement of Collins. “Certainly, if you know him and know him personally and have worked with him, it’s sad.”

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