BUFFALO, N.Y. — The race for New York's 27th Congressional District suddenly looks much more winnable for a Democrat, but Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who was courted earlier this year by national party leaders to run for the seat, said she hasn't had second thoughts about spurning those advances. 

"I loved my time in Congress but I can have a much greater impact statewide to help the people of my former district and even the entire state as lieutenant governor," Hochul said.

She said she was not surprised to learn federal prosecutors had brought charges related to insider trading against Republican Congressman Chris Collins, but is still disappointed for his constituents.

"It breaks my heart to know that for the last six years they've been represented by someone who has put his own financial interests ahead of their own, but serving as lieutenant governor has given me a great deal of latitude in being able to represent the entire state and work on issues where you actually get things done," Hochul said.

Collins has insisted he will clear his name and continue his campaign for reelection, even as behind the scenes Republicans are considering their options.

"He's going to have to appear in court and handle his legal situation," Hochul said. "It will be a huge distraction. I think he needs to sit down with the party leaders and decide what's best for their party I spose. I'm not going to engage in that conversation. All I know is what's best for that district is to vote for Nate McMurray, a Democrat, in November."

The lieutenant governor said she's committed to helping McMurray, the man some in her party once wanted her to replace on the ballot. Since the district lines were redrawn in 2012, the 27th has widely been considered the state's safest Republican stronghold. Hochul, who was the incumbent at the time, has been the only Democrat to even come close to beating Collins.

"I lost it by a very small percentage so it is in my opinion doable," Hochul said.

The lieutenant governor said if Republicans really look at which candidate best represents their values and interests, they should be able to overlook party labels.