Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) could be in jail right now. Instead, he's running for Congress.
Republicans had been desperately seeking to replace Collins on the ballot this fall after he was indicted last month on insider trading charges. But in a Monday twist, Collins' lawyer revealed he does not "see a path" to let Collins off the ticket — and Collins' Democratic rival is literally cheering, The Buffalo News reports.
Collins, a longtime ally of President Trump, was arrested in August after allegedly using his congressional seat to benefit investors in an Australian pharmaceutical company of which he is a board member. Collins called the charges "meritless," pleaded not guilty, and was released on $500,000 bail later in the month. He originally intended to keep running this fall, but suspended his re-election bid Aug. 11.
Democrats would've probably cited election laws to challenge any attempts to replace Collins so close to the midterms, a source told The Buffalo News. Still, Republicans in Collins' western New York district were reportedly preparing to reveal who would replace him on the ticket this week — but Collins upended their plans Monday after his lawyer confirmed that he wouldn't step aside for another candidate. An area GOP chairman told The Buffalo News that he felt like a "groom jilted at the altar."
Even before Collins switched his stance, Democrats started lobbying hard to flip the deep-red district for opponent Nate McMurray. Even Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez was at a McMurray rally Monday; when the Collins news broke, supporters cheered, per The Buffalo News. McMurray, in a statement, joked that he's mostly just happy to "finally know who I was running against." Kathryn Krawczyk