Special Election Battle Heats Up In NY-27

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY27) resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives on September 30, 2019 and later pleaded guilty to federal insider trading charges. Collins’s resignation created a vacancy in New York’s 27th congressional district. At this writing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet scheduled a special election to fill the vacancy; however, it is anticipated that the Governor will call an election for that purpose on April 28, 2020. Whichever candidate wins that election will have to seek re-election in November and could receive a primary challenge in June of this year.

As one might expect, New Yorkers in both parties expressed interest in running for the vacated seat. Democrat Nate McMurray, who challenged Collins in 2018, is expected to be chosen as the Democratic candidate once again. The Republican Party has chosen State Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo). However, the Conservative Party—which typically endorses Republican candidates—has opted not to endorse anyone in the potential April 28 special election. Furthermore, Republican Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. and Republican Beth A. Parlato, a former Darien town justice, have announced that they will mount candidacies in June, while two other Republicans—State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) and White House assistant Jeff Freeland—may also enter the June primary. Also, the fiscally conservative Club for Growth has announced its opposition to Sen. Jacobs’s candidacy. According to the Buffalo News, some conservatives deem Sen. Jacobs to be too moderate of a Republican for this solidly red district.

The Conservative Party did not endorse its own candidate in this race because doing so would have split conservative voters and could have handed the election to McMurray.