BUFFALO, N.Y. — Reversing course from a month ago, Chris Collins will stay on the ballot in the congressional race for NY-27 — a decision that surprised Erie County GOP leaders.
A GOP source says Collins and his attorneys decided to remain in the race. A second source says lawyers don't see a clear path to remove him from the ballot without Collins' cooperation.
Last month, Collins suspended his re-election campaign after he was indicted on federal charges of insider trading.
According to that indictment, Collins repeatedly called his son, Cameron, to tell him that a clinical drug trial for a multiple sclerosis drug developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics was going to come back negative. Chris sat on the board of directors of the Australia-based biotech company.
Cameron allegedly sold more than a million shares of the company stock in short order, then told his his fiancée, soon-to-be in-laws and others. That chain reaction allegedly saved all parties involved a total of more than $768,000 in losses when the stock dropped.
Collins later pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts against him.
"We are very surprised, but Congressman Collins will appear on the ballot," Langworthy said. "We maintain that we definitely had a crystal clear avenue to replace Congressman Collins on the ballot, but it's no longer in the best interest of his legal team and legal defense is what I'm told is the reason he has chosen to remain on the ballot at this time."
Collins will face off against Democratic candidate and Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray in November's general election.
"We have laws for a purpose in this country," McMurray said. "We're a country of laws. You can't break those laws. If you break those laws there's consequences and that team that supported him is also learning about that."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez relayed the news during the grand opening of McMurray's campaign headquarters.
"We've always been in on this race because Chris Collins lacks integrity," Perez said. "He's raised taxes. He's trying to take away health care and he's been doing a disservice to farmers."
Even with the charges, he said McMurray remains the underdog in New York's Republican-leaning 27th Congressional District, but he said he's confident they can flip the seat.
Collins has been in Congress since his election win in 2012.