NY Democrat concedes House race to Republican Rep. Collins
HAMBURG, N.Y. (AP) — A Democrat who came close to unseating indicted Republican Chris Collins in New York’s most conservative congressional district formally conceded Monday with a promise to run again “when the time is right.”
“It was a hard decision. A huge part of me wants to continue to fight,” Nate McMurray said after a tally of absentee and other ballots in the western New York district showed him behind Collins by about 1,400 votes.
The heavily Republican 27th Congressional District gave President Donald Trump his biggest margin of victory of any in the state in 2016.
Collins, who first declared victory on election night, did not immediately respond to McMurray’s concession.
In another upstate New York race that was too close to call on election night, Democrat Anthony Brindisi remained more than 4,000 votes ahead of Republican U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney. Local election officials said they expect to complete their count of absentee ballots this week.
Tenney has not conceded, but said last week that a win for her appears unlikely.
McMurray, town supervisor of Grand Island, told reporters that he decided against pursuing a recount or possible legal action that would have prolonged the race further. Instead, he announced the creation of a grassroots organization, Fight Like Hell, that he said would be a voice for people who feel disenfranchised or apathetic toward politics.
“I want more people to run for office, regular people, not millionaires, not people who cheat the system, but decent and kind and good people,” he said. “When the time is right, I will run for office again.”
Collins, a wealthy businessman and one of the first members of Congress to support Trump’s presidential campaign, is scheduled for trial in early 2020 on charges he leaked information about a biopharmaceutical company that allowed his son and others to avoid nearly $800,000 in stock losses. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI.
A conviction would likely lead to Collins’ resignation from Congress and a possible special election.
“We’d have to speculate,” McMurray said when asked whether he would run, “but it’s definitely something I feel strongly about.”