I’m voting for Chris Collins.
As a resident of the 27th District of New York, on Election Day, I’m voting for Chris Collins.
From where I sit today, that’s what I think is most likely to happen.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s a crook. I believe the feds have him dead to rights. He cheated the stock market and he ripped off innocent investors. There’s not really any doubt about that.
There’s also the issue of an ethics investigation that showed he tried to use the power of his office to benefit a company in which he had a substantial investment.
There’s no way I want Chris Collins to stay in office.
But I’m going to vote for him.
And here’s why.
He’s going to be on the ballot.
Though the Republican Party is doing everything it can to push him out the door – and off the ballot – the law is not on its side and the great likelihood is that on Election Day the ballot is going to be Nate McMurray versus Chris Collins.
And though Nate McMurray seems to be a pretty nice guy, and would do well at a lot of things, I don’t want him for my congressman. We have a different world view. He’s a Democrat, the party of Pelosi and impeachment, and I don’t want to empower his friends.
So I can’t vote for him.
That leaves me Chris Collins.
And that, believe it or not, is a good thing.
Because a Chris Collins win opens the door for effective representation for the district, and for the people of the district – specifically the Republican people of the district – having a voice in who they get to vote for.
Right now, seven Republican county chairmen are cowering in fear before an eighth – Erie County Chairman Nick Langworthy. Weighted voting means that he’s holding almost all the cards when it comes to picking a candidate to replace Collins on the ballot. And he and the others are going through painful machinations to pick that candidate.
From the outside, it sounds like a messy process. And it sounds like, depending on the theory of the day, that the fix is in. Either Langworthy or someone close or beholden or benefiting him is going to get the nod.
And Republican voters are going to get the shaft.
Because nobody likes voting for a candidate named Fait Accompli.
But there’s a good chance that dance is all for naught. Because while Nick and the nice guys might pick a candidate, the likelihood is that candidate won’t be on the ballot in November. The law is pretty clear about replacing folks on the ballot, and the window seems to have closed long ago.
Pretty games in which Chris Collins changes his state of residency or runs for highway superintendent in the town of Lost In The Woods aren’t really honest or honorable. Gaming the system is not a noble thing, nor is it a reliable thing.
So odds are Chris Collins is on the ballot.
And I hope he wins.
Because if he does, his declination of the office will necessitate a special election, which eventually Atilla the Cuomo might call. In that special election, held hopefully at the beginning of next year, the Republican Party will have a viable candidate, and I suspect that person will win.
And, from my standpoint, that will be a good thing.
I also believe a Collins win in November will take the keys to the car out of the hands of the Erie County chairman, and that will also be a good thing.
The calling of a special election will open up a more-traditional candidate selection process, one in which we can at least pretend that regular Republicans have a voice. It will also open up the possibility of a primary, giving regular Republicans even more of a voice.
I would like to see things go that way, and I think the greatest likelihood is that they will.
And that will be good.
Because I’m tired of being represented by failures. In my part of the district, we’ve been represented by an assemblyman who stole panties, a congressman who couldn’t keep his shirt on, an assemblyman who killed himself because he was ripping people off, and a congressman who engaged in insider trading. We’ve come a long way since Jack Kemp and Bill Paxon. Heck, I even miss dull-but-reliable Tom Reynolds.
I’m tired of trusting the chairmen, and I’m tired of a process that empowers one guy in one county who has a really, really bad track record of picking candidates.
So I’m hoping the courts uphold the law, and I’m hoping Chris Collins is on the ballot, and I’m hoping he wins.
So in the new year my neighbors and I can have a real choice.