Democrat Nate McMurray is giving it another go in New York’s 27th Congressional District.
McMurray lost to incumbent Republican Chris Collins last year in one of the country’s closest contests. The campaign gained national attention as the district is widely considered the reddest in the state.
“I have a lot of fire for NY-27 and I’m excited about doing it again,” he said.
Over the last year, McMurray said he never really stopped campaigning and meeting with voters. That was particularly obvious on social media where he regularly voiced opinions on issues like gun control and criticized Collins and President Donald Trump.
Yet, after a grueling 2018 experience, he admitted he was hesitant to jump back into the fray for 2020.
“It was hard to full commit because I know what this takes. It’s such a personal commitment,” he said. “It’s so difficult emotionally. It’s difficult on your family.”
One of the reasons the race was likely close to begin with last year was Collins was indicted on federal insider trading charges. Those charges are now a year old and the incumbent recently fared well in a poll testing against Republican challengers.
However, McMurray believes many of the same conditions still exist as two year ago and noted Collins is still scheduled to stand trial in February 2020.
“It’s different but right now we’re in the same place we were in a year ago. Chris Collins is still indicted. There’s other people saying they want to take his place and the biggest difference is I’m stronger than I was a year ago,” he said.
Collins has not actually announced whether he plans to seek his fifth term but McMurray believes he will. He said the Republicans recent $500,000 loan to his campaign account indicates that and expedited McMurray’s own decision.
“I think his best way of staying out of jail and preserving his freedom is to try to hold onto that seat as long as possible and I know firsthand, better than anybody, how hard he will fight to hold onto that seat and I don’t foresee him dropping out,” he said.
Two Republican, current state Senator Chris Jacobs and Fox News contributor Beth Parlato, have already announced they are running for the seat. McMurray becomes the first Democrat and believes he will have a clear path to the party’s nomination.
He said he’ll start off with more institutional support than he did in 2018, particularly from national Dems who were slow to enter the race last year.
“To win we need to do a lot of the same things we did before but we need to improve and get better and we have already looked at the numbers from last time, we see where we were weak and we know how to strengthen those areas and we also need to raise more money,” he said.
McMurray said the contest is about more than just the charges Collins faces. He plans to focus on issues like joblessness around the district and improving the agriculture industry.