Friends and admirers of recent Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia have officially started an effort to draft him to run for New York’s 27th Congressional District in 2020.

Michael Caputo was Bellavia’s campaign manager in 2012 when the army veteran lost a Republican primary bid to Chris Collins who ultimately won the congressional seat. 

This year he’s launched the DraftBellavia website and is serving as the Erie County Director for the draft committee.

There is a director in each of the district’s eight counties including talk radio host, Bob Lonsberry, from the Rochester region.

Caputo said Bellavia has been very busy since becoming the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the military’s highest honor last month. 

He said the community can do the ground work for him including getting letters of support and fundraising commitments.

Caputo said Bellavia has been tentative to talk to anybody about political aspirations and did not know this effort was being organized.

 “As a pure politician like myself, I think the Medal of Honor is a further qualification,” Caputo said. “David and others think it’s a disqualifier.”

Because Bellavia is now working full time for the Army again, Caputo said he actually can’t campaign or do any groundwork himself until he ends his term of service, which he admits his friend may never want to do.

However, he believes with the increased name recognition Bellavia has received as a Conservative talk show host, Bellavia was the best candidate before the Medal of Honor and the award has really changed everything.

So far, only Republican state Senator Chris Jacobs has officially announced his candidacy

The incumbent Chris Collins, who is awaiting a federal trial for insider trading allegations, is still weighing his options.