BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Rep. Chris Collins was supposed to give a press conference in Buffalo around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, but an hour and a half later, upon returning to his home base of Buffalo from Manhattan where he pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts against him, the Western New York congressman took to the offensive.
Joined at the podium by his wife of 30 years, Mary Sue, Collins spoke about his background as a professional, a politician and how he got involved with Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics. He spoke at length about his investment in the company, which had been developing a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Before exiting, Collins said, as he did in a message to supporters, that he will remain on the ballot and will continue working toward re-election in November.
Collins says the charges against him are meritless. He also reiterated his support for the company, which he said he still believes in.
His opponent, Nate McMurray, said the allegations against Collins aren’t surprising, claiming Collins has always been more concerned with his own needs rather than putting voters first. McMurray also called on voters, regardless of party affiliation, to send a message to Washington.
"We see it, it's not the left/right divide anymore, it's the power/no power divide,” McMurray said. “I'm going to represent the people with no power who need a voice. The system is out of whack, the leverage is out of whack."
McMurray came just short of calling for Collins' resignation-- though he did say "I know what I'd do if I were in his boots."