BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Before one of the many hopefuls who declared their interest in running can replace Rep. Chris Collins on the Republican line, party leaders must get Collins off the ballot.
Collins announced this weekend that he was suspending his re-election bid for the 27th District, which he's represented since his election in 2012, while he faces charges of insider trading.
Election law is very specific when it comes to removing candidates from the ballot this late in the game, according to Kevin Hardwick, a political science professor and WBEN radio talk show host.
"If he were a lawyer it would be easy. They could run him for Supreme Court down in Manhattan, or something like that, but you probably in a month, you can't get him a law degree so there are a couple of ways," Hardwick said.
"Some people think if he moves out of state. That's a little bit iffy, the election laws aren't clear on that, cases have gone both ways. The best way is to get him to run for some other seat where there's a vacancy."
If that's done before September 19, the eight county chairs within Collins' district, which spans between Buffalo and Rochester, could name his replacement, with Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy having the most influence.
"They've obviously made a decision to try to replace him, and the question is can they do it legally and ethically and I think that's a real question," said Erie County Board of Elections Commissioner Len Lenihan, the former Democratic party chair in the Buffalo area.
According to the State Board of Elections, Collins can be replaced on the ballot up until seven days before the election.