Bellavia won’t pursue special election in 27th

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2019 at 5:11 pm

David Bellavia

David Bellavia won’t be running in an upcoming special election to fill a vacancy in the 27thCongressional District, The Buffalo News is reporting.

Republican leaders in the 8-county district have been waiting to hear Bellavia’s intentions. He has been considered the frontrunner if he made a campaign official.

But Bellavia said he is instead going to focus on serving the Army in a full-time role. He received the Medal of Honor on June 25 at the White House from President Donald Trump. Bellavia is the first living veteran from the Iraq War to receive the nation’s highest military honor.

The Orleans County resident ran for Congress in 2012, but was edged out by Chris Collins, who resigned from his seat on Sept. 30. He pleaded guilty to federal charges on Oct. 1 to participating in a scheme to commit insider trading and to making false statements to federal law enforcement agents when interviewed about his conduct.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t set a date for a special election to fill the vacancy.

David Bellavia issued this statement:

“My service to our great community and country is unwavering, but I have a new responsibility to the U.S. Army. The Medal of Honor recognition is providing me with an incredible opportunity to serve at a level not thought possible just a few months ago. I am traveling the country, as an ambassador for Western New York, educating and influencing future soldiers and fellow citizens, as well as training and advising military leadership. 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.”

“I have carefully considered the needs and advice of party leadership and those closest to me and I am extremely thankful and forever humbled by the overwhelming support from Western New York.”

“Go Bills! Go Sabres!”

State Sen. Robert Ortt wants to be Collins’ successor. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, issued this statement:

“U.S. Army SSG. David Bellavia is a national hero who will continue to serve our country in a manner that we should all be grateful for. I commend David on his decision to continue representing the Army and for his work founding the Deuce Deuce Relief Fund, and I look forward to working with him in the future to ensure that our veterans are made a priority when returning home from combat. The health and well-being of our veterans are one of the reasons I have chosen to run for Congress, and the need for battle-tested veteran leadership in Washington, D.C. is greater now than ever before.”

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw hasn’t officially announced his candidacy for Congress, but has been active in the 27thDistrict at Republican functions. He issued this statement:

“NY27’s loss is the country’s gain – and I know David will continue to serve our country with honor and excellence in his next role. David deserved the respect and time to make his decision, on his terms, and as I’ve said, I would make a decision once he made his.

“One thing I am certain of – with impeachment of President Trump on the line, we cannot let this seat fall into the hands of a pro-choice, Never Trumper who only claims to support the President now that there’s a political promotion on the line. Washington doesn’t need another weak, opportunistic politician – it needs fearless conservatives who will take the fight to the Democrats and stand with President Trump.

“Within the next few days I’ll make a final decision on running in NY27 to ensure we have a voice that actually fights for conservatives, not one that simply poses as a conservative.”

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