Collins will stay on ballot despite GOP efforts to replace him

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2018 at 1:56 pm

File photo: Congressman Chris Collins

Congressman Chris Collins will be on the ballot in November, representing the Republican Party despite party leaders’ efforts to replace him.

Collins was indicted on federal insider trading charges on Aug. 8. Republican leaders in the 27th Congressional District have been trying to get Collins off the ballot and find a replacement candidate. It has proven a daunting challenge.

Collins told party leaders he would no longer cooperate with efforts to take him off the ballot.

“Because of the protracted and uncertain nature of any legal effort to replace Congressman Collins we do not see a path allowing Congressman Collins to be replaced on the ballot,” his attorney, Mark Braden, said in a statement to the media today.

Collins was arrested along his son Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron’s fiancé. They have been charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count each of making false statements to the FBI.

Specifically, Collins is accused of using information from negative clinical trial tests conducted by Innate Immunotherapeutics, a pharmaceutical company. Collins was a member of Innate’s board of directors and a major shareholder for the biotech firm based in Australia.

Collins is accused of passing information to his son, who also is a major shareholder in the company. Cameron Collins is then accused of relaying inside information to others so they could time trades in the company to their benefit. The investors in the know were able to sell shares, avoiding $768,000 in losses, before damaging news hit about a failed drug trial for Innate, according to the indictment.

Nate McMurray, the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for the 27th District, issued this statement after news broke of Collins staying on the ballot:

“Well it’s nice to finally know who I’m running against. But, in truth, we always knew we were running against Chris Collins. There are laws for a reason. There is accountability in our society for a reason. And in the greatest democracy in the world, voters weren’t going to take this kind of sham switching around names on a ballot at the whims of local party bosses,” said McMurray. “I credit the people of Western New York for standing up in town after town saying ‘don’t force him on the ballot in my town.’ They saw through this fraud. They weren’t going to fall for the bait and switch strategy by the same team that endorsed, celebrated, took pictures with and defended Chris Collins.

“There is an incredible grassroots movement in NY-27. Like me, the voters want to Fight Like Hell against the political machine that has let them down for so long. They like that I’m an underdog. Every day when I’m out meeting voters, we talk about affordable, accessible healthcare for all, defending social security, investing in our infrastructure, protecting our farms. But in this region, we’re still always talking about corruption. Voters have a chance to end that once and for all in NY-27 and I’m excited for the next 50 days.”

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