Democrat to challenge Congressman Chris Collins in 2018

Posted at 10:03 AM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 18:15:28-04

Erin Cole, a Democrat, announced she will challenge Chris Collins for the 27th Congressional District in 2018. 
“I have the qualifications for it. I have the enthusiasm and excitement for it and given the fact that I have the knowledge of the issues in the district i just think the timing and everything is perfect,” she said.

Cole was raised in West Seneca and has family across Western New York. She's an Army veteran and worked for both the state and federal government. Most recently, she worked for the Empire State Development Corporation as the international division leader for Global New York. “We work with businesses all over the 27 District and help them export overseas and grow their businesses here through international sales and I'm very proud of that,” Cole said.

In a statement, a spokesman for Collins said in part "After aligning with Washington elites like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton while running an administration seeped in corruption, Andrew Cuomo is now hand picking candidates in our community to advance his high tax and anti-jobs agenda."

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ali Touhey: What ties do you have to the Governor?
Cole: I have none whatsoever. I've actually never personally met the governor. The governor wouldn't know me if we passed each other on the street.

Earlier this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released 59 seats it intends to target. The 27th district made that list. So, it's expected to shell out some serious cash to the chosen candidate. But, so far, Cole said the Committee hasn't talked money with her.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner said it's also too early to say whether she'll get the party endorsement. But he does believe Cole is a strong candidate. “She's relatable to the people in that district and we've got to find that person who can speak to the residents in the eight different counties.”

Chris Collins' current term ends January, 2019.