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Enthusiasm split down the aisle over whether Gov. Cuomo should call a special election

Posted at 9:55 PM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 22:04:46-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the fallout of Rep. Chris Collins resignation from New York's 27th Congressional District, local politicians are split over whether Governor Andrew Cuomo should hold a special election.

"I don't think the citizens should have to wait nearly an entire year to have a congressman again," said State Senator Chris Jacobs, who has been campaigning to replace Collins as the Republican candidate for NY27 in the 2020 General Election.

"[The constituents] have suffered over the last, frankly, year with a congressman that couldn't fully represent them, couldn't serve on committees," Jacobs said.

Since late 2018, Collins has been barred from sitting on House committees because of the federal insider trading charges against him, which he is expected to plead guilty to on Tuesday.

Rep. Tom Reed, who represents New York's neighboring 23rd Congressional District, issued a one-sentence statement about Collins' resignation on Monday evening. Not once does Reed mention his fellow congressman's name.

"We are pleased to see this issue brought to a close, and we urge Governor Cuomo to waste no time in calling for a special election to ensure the people of New York's 27th Congressional District have proper representation in Washington," Reed said.

Democrats, meantime, have been hesitant to express their opinions about whether or not Cuomo ought to call a special election or wait for the 2020 General Election and the presidential primary.

"Having a special election would just be to finish the term," Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner said in a phone call.

Zellner noted the cost of holding a special election months before the 2020 General Election and spring primary schedule.

Both Zellner and a spokesperson for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a democrat, did not say whether they want a special election, instead saying it is up to the Governor to decide.

Similarly, Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat, carefully said in a statement that Collins' resignation allows the Western New York community "to move forward."

"His charges and subsequent suspension from deliberations in House committees and limited public engagements resulted in the people of Western New York - his 700,000-plus constituents - having lesser representation in Washington and here at home," Higgins said.

Nate McMurray, who narrowly lost to Collins in the 2018 race, is holding a news conference Tuesday.