Ortt, Hawley both willing to step in on ballot for Collins
With Chris Collins suspending his campaign for re-election, two state legislators who represent Orleans County say they are willing to have their names on the ballot for the Republican line.
State Sen. Rob Ortt of North Tonawanda and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley are among about 15 people showing interest, from prominent businessmen including Carl Paladino to other state legislators and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.
The Republican Party leaders in the eight-county district are expected to pick a candidate soon and try to have Collins’ name removed from the ballot.
Rob Ortt was the North Tonawanda mayor about four years ago when a sudden announcement from George Maziarz, who ended his campaign for re-election, opened the door for Ortt. Maziarz stopped his campaign on July 13, 2014. It was too late for the normal nominating process and to have a Republican primary. Party leaders from Niagara, Orleans and Monroe counties picked Ortt to be on the ballot. He has since won two elections.
“I am humbled and honored to have my name included in the shortlist of individuals considered to represent the constituents of New York’s 27th Congressional District,” Ortt said in a statement on Saturday. “Just as I answered the call to serve my country after the events of September 11th, I will answer the call should I be asked to serve the constituents of New York’s 27th Congressional District. Regardless of who is selected as the Republican Party’s nominee for NY27 this November, we must ensure the values of the district’s hard-working residents continues to be represented at the federal level.”
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley has been in the Assembly since winning a special election in February 2006. He owns an insurance company and is a former farmer and Genesee County Farm Bureau president. He told The Daily News of Batavia his background and conservative voting record is in line with the voters in the 139th District, which includes Genesee, most of Orleans and part of western Monroe.
Ortt’s Senate district is more than twice the size of Hawley’s Assembly District. The Congressional District is more than double the size of the State Senate districts.
Erie County represents the largest percentage of the Congressional District. That likely gives that county more clout in picking the Republican who will be on the ballot. Hawley said much of the district is rural and the district would benefit from a representative from one of the rural counties.
One candidate who is already on the ballot for the Reform Party line also wants to the Republican candidate. Larry Piegza said he deserves consideration. He issued this statement to the media:
“The District’s GOP establishment failed to admit that Collins was a criminal in the first place,” Piegza said. “Then also tried their failed election scam of getting the fake Green Party candidate Michael Zak on the ballot. I think it’s time that we voters demand an open process for choosing Collins’ replacement instead of letting the corrupt establishment tell us which crony we have to vote for next.
“I am only one of two candidates chosen by the fair election process, and have already stated that I am willing to give up my entire congressional salary if I get elected. Instead of endorsing me, they are jumping through legal hoops to try to get their next corrupt politician on the ballot. The voters don’t want a rigged election. If we are going to Make America Great Again, we have got to really drain the swamp at the District level as well.”