Discussion on how to replace Congressman Collins on ballot expected to begin

BUFFALO, N.Y.  - Republican leaders in Western New York are scrambling to figure out how to replace Congressman Chris Collins on the ballot, not that the three-term congressman has suspended his re-election campaign. Collins made that decision days after being indicted on federal insider trading charges.

The chairmen and chairwoman of the counties covering New York's 27th congressional district are now planning to meet Tuesday evening in Batavia to discuss the opening.

At least a dozen people remain in contention, including New York State Senator Chris Jacobs.

"I love serving in the Senate," Jacobs said. "I want to make the biggest impact possible in Western New York. If the opportunity came up to serve in Congress, I believe I can make a bigger impact for the region. But that's in somebody else's hands.

Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray is already on the ballot for the November election, which is now less than three months away. As it stands, Collins still has the GOP nod, despite suspending his campaign. Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy is confident his name can be replaced on the ballot.

"The candidate will have to answer campaign finance questions. They'll have to answer questions about their background," said Langworthy. "Obviously coming off losing a congressman to an indictment on some serious charges, we are going to have our guards up in a big way."

On Saturday, Langworthy said he hoped to have a candidate selected within seven to 10 days. The decision comes down to the opinions of the GOP chairs of Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Monroe, Livingston, and Ontario counties.

Political analyst Kevin Hardwick told News 4 on Tuesday that he thinks the candidate to replace Chris Collins will be decided on Tuesday night.

"You have different counties with different leadership who may support one candidate over another," said Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon, an Independent from Hamburg who is a potential replacement for Collins. "You have to have the ability to bring everybody together to support one candidate. That's a challenge."

"The process has to be fairly quick because whoever the candidate is needs time to get an apparatus up and running," said New York State Assemblyman Ray Walter, another possible candidate. "There are some of us that have that in place ready to go already."

Sen. Patrick Gallivan released a statement on Tuesday, saying "I am considering all options as well as my commitment to my constituents in the 59th Senate District and my family."

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