I am voting for Chris Collins.
I say that with shame and disappointment, like I’ve been forced into something dirty by someone of low account.
Which is exactly what has happened, to me and to all of us who live in New York’s 27th congressional district.
We are good people. We believe in good things. We love our country and want what’s best for it.
But the love of money is the root of all evil, and one night this year at the White House, in a flurry of messages, calls and texts, Chris Collins loved money more than duty, profit more than country.
And he broke the law.
Insider trading. They’ve got him dead to rights.
And we’ve got a dilemma. A decent young man who represents the party of impeachment and international socialism, or a crooked old man who represents a party that sucks a little bit less than the other one.
One empowers a caucus that will attack and impede the Trump and conservative agenda, and the other empowers a caucus that will continue the march to make America great again.
It’s a hard call, and I may not be making the right choice.
If Chris Collins is reelected, and the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, we’ll be left with not only a crook, but a crook with no connection to the levers of power. Our district will be shamed and powerless, completely unrepresented in the new Congress.
But if we elect Nate McMurray, and perchance his Democrat vote on leadership day gives control of the House to Nancy Pelosi, we will have been an instrument in the damaging of America.
And if Chris Collins won’t do his duty, I will do mine.
Which, astoundingly, is to vote for a man who is likely going from the House to the big house.
Compounding the complexity is the fact that his opponent is not a joke. Given the nomination when it was a throwaway, Democrat Nate McMurray has stepped in and stepped up in the wake of Collins’ arrest. McMurray is an appealing candidate who, before Republican audiences, moderates his positions and tries hard to make the sale.
If you’re looking for the better person, it’s Nate McMurray.
But I have to admit I’m not looking for the better person, I’m looking for the better party. Perhaps that makes me cynical or mercenary, or means I’ve got mixed up priorities. But it’s like sports. When you’re trying to win, you pass the ball to the a-hole on your own team, not the nice guy on the other team.
And I honestly believe that it is in the best interest of America for the Republicans to hold the House of Representatives. I believe that, in the main, the Trump Administration has well served the prosperity, security and freedom of the United States. I believe that Republican control of the House will help more good things to happen for our country over the next two years.
On the other hand, I believe that Democratic control of the House would mean two years of gasoline-on-the-fire division for the country, with the Congress turned into the campaign arm of the Democratic National Committee. I believe that it would be a war on Trump, and on his supporters and their values, with impeachment and chaos the Democrat tactics of choice.
I recognize that it is likely the Democrats will take control of the House. But I also recognize that I cannot in good conscience help that process.
Chris Collins may have abandoned his principles, but the voters of his district can’t abandon theirs.
So we will hold our noses and vote.
And we will hope that Nate McMurray is right – that Collins is merely running to use a resignation from Congress as a bargaining chip with federal prosecutors. We will hope that Chris Collins is reelected, and that he resigns early in the new year as part of a plea deal, and that we are free of him and his taint.
The special election which follows such a resignation would involve two candidates of integrity, and would take place in the context of knowing which party controls the House. In other words, the voters of the 27th would have a good and fair choice.
When they have a terrible choice.
Which forces them, if they look at things the way I do, to vote for the lesser candidate to do the greater good.
I don’t believe in Chris Collins, but I do believe in America.
So I am voting for Chris Collins, and I hope my neighbors are as well.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - FEBRUARY 16: (AFP-OUT) President Donald Trump participates in a congressional listening session with GOP members in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also pictured is Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)