If anybody understands how a Democrat can win in New York's 27th District, it's Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. She was the last Democrat to hold the heavily Republican-leaning seat and narrowly lost it to current Representative Chris Collins in 2012 after redistricting made it even redder.
"Ladies and gentleman, lightning will strike twice in this district," she said.
Hochul formally endorsed candidate Nate McMurray during a labor rally Thursday. McMurray said he's grateful for the support of someone who some members of the national party were once pushing to replace him on the ballot.
"A lot of people here trust her," he said. "They know her name and to have someone like that endorse me and being by my side, it's a big deal."
As for a road map to victory, the lieutenant governor pointed to her own primary victory in September which was buoyed by strong turnout from Democrats in Western New York.
"Some counties were up 60 percent, some 80 percent, some 90 percent. People are engaged. They're angry and they're going to take it out at the polls," Hochul said.
The endorsement is the latest good news for McMurray's upstart campaign, which started generating major interest in August after federal prosecutors brought insider trading charges against Collins.
"The individual that we're running against is seriously ethically flawed and challenged and will be in jail, probably by the end of next year. That's my guess, okay. I shouldn't have said that but that's alright," Hochul said.
Her prediction already looks flawed though, as hours after she made it a judge scheduled Collins’ trial for 2020.
"I just think it's a shame that we have to deal with this," McMurray said. "I mean, you're innocent until proven guilty but this man should do the decent thing and at least not run. His own party has removed him from committees. He cannot fulfill his duties. He is running a campaign that is fraudulent."
McMurray said the voters — and donors — are taking notice. His campaign raised nearly $500,000 in the last quarter and an internal poll shows the race in a dead heat.
"We're right where we want to be, no one thought we could ever get this close," McMurray said. "They thought it was impossible. This is a true underdog story and I'm going to make sure we win it."
Collins' campaign points out Hochul and Governor Cuomo lost the district by almost 30 points four years ago and said if McMurray wants to align himself with their liberal values, its happy to let voters know about it.
Lt. Gov. Endorses McMurray on Same Day Judge Schedules Collins' Trial
By Ryan Whalen Buffalo October 11, 2018 @7:14 PM