Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, New York 27th Congressional District candidate Melodie Baker didn't lack for support Monday in Clarence.
"I'm running for the 27th District because I've seen firsthand how partisan politics and corporate interests in Washington are holding our government hostage. I'm running because it's time to take back what belongs to the people,” she said.
The community education and health care advocate officially kicked off her campaign, but there are signs it may be nearly over already.
"I think that I have a story that a lot of people can align with on," Baker said. "I just need the opportunity to get in front of them."
Last month, the Erie County Democratic Committee interviewed both Baker and 2018 candidate Nate McMurray. While chairman Jeremy Zellner said the committee won't nominate until the governor calls the special election to replace convicted Republican Chris Collins.
However, Zellner said, "It is clear that Nate is gaining support with our rank-and-file members and town chairs and that we are moving in that direction."
McMurray declined an interview Monday but has expressed confidence for weeks he will be the party's designee. He pointed to his endorsement from the district's seven other county chairs who would represent roughly 51 percent of a weighted vote.
"The governor has not yet called the race and there have been endorsements made but those are just formalities and at the end of the day, our democracy was built on the basis of people having the ability to choose who represents them," Baker said.
She believes there is still time to change minds and says until the party officially designates a candidate she plans to keep working.