LONSBERRY: Time for GOP to Replace Chris Collins

Chris Collins needs to get the message.

He will not be the Republican candidate for Congress in the 27th District of New York in 2020.

Come hell or high water, no matter what, the bantam cock gets his walking papers.

It doesn’t matter how much he delays his trial, or how much he tries to blame Nancy Pelosi, or how much he claims his rivals are never-Trumpers, he’s gone.

Adios, amigo. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

That’s the way it is.

And the way forward is someone else, and the discussion about who that someone else is needs to begin now – not behind the closed Republican doors that gave us Chris Lee and Chris Collins, but out in the open where the people are asked, not told.

And where the entire district is taken into account – including the rural and eastern parts of the district where Republicans routinely get the votes necessary for victory.

No disrespect to Erie County, but the propensity to sell the seat to the richest aspirant has born nothing but bitter fruit. If you can believe the Department of Justice, it gave us a shirtless wonder and a felon. Maybe it’s time to take merit into account.

And maybe it’s time for county Republican chairmen to stop being lapdogs. We’ve got a congressman who the people say is AWOL, the politicians say is arrogant, and the government says is a crook. Maybe it’s time for the chairmen to disavow this guy and open up a process that gives Republicans a real and honorable congressional choice in 2020.

Last year, it was so bad that a tall, male AOC came within 1,100 votes of winning the most Republican district in the state. People who believe in President Trump and in the Constitution held their noses and voted “crook” over “crackpot.” They should not be asked to do so again.

And Republicans in the 27th District should not be asked to forget that the GOP margin of victory in 2018 came from people who mean Monroe County when they say they are “going to the city.”

Let’s not play this coy game where we read the “Buffalo News” and see names compiled by reporters listening to whispering politicians. Let’s hold a forum. Let’s get all the wannabes or could bes together and tour them across the district. Not ass kissing with the chairmen, but question answering with the voters. Let the people of the 27th see them, head to head, and take their measure.

This district has gone functionally unrepresented long enough. It’s time for a Bill Paxon or a Jack Kemp, or at least a Tom Reynolds. It’s time for a grown up of substance to hold this constitutional seat and represent this salt-of-the-earth district with integrity, selflessness and intelligence. As a Republican resident of the district, it’s hard to accept the fact that your last personable and accessible congressperson is now the flaming progressive Democrat lieutenant governor.

There are giants in this district – in politics and out. There are true constitutional patriots in this district. There are all-in supporters of Donald Trump in this district. There are many people in this district who could be excellent Republican candidates and faithful representatives of all the district’s residents.

But Chris Collins isn’t one of them.

He is damaged goods.

We demand a choice, and not a “choice” forced upon us by party bosses and the egos of wealthy men. Instead of playing the game of “I got next” behind the closed doors of Erie County politics, let’s acknowledge the truth and bring the process out into the open.

The chairmen should look downward on the organizational chart, not upward. Instead of waiting for aspirants to pay court, they should turn to committee members and Republican voters and find out what the people want in a congressman and who best fits that profile.

There is a zeal in the heart of 27th District Republicans. We believe in what we believe. It’s not a game or a job for us, it’s a patriotic duty. And as we are beset by a state government that is hostile to our values, and as we face the prospect of a new direction for New York Republicans, we believe it is time for the voice and passion of the grassroots to be heard and heeded.

We’re tired of representatives who play at being conservative, or who dangle the president’s name like red meat. We want one of us. We want someone who cares about people like us. We want someone who will stand before us and plead his or her case. We want to be convinced, respected and empowered.

So Chris Collins has to go.

And the choice of his replacement has to be ours.

The race for the 2020 Republican nomination in the 27th District of New York begins now.

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