LONSBERRY: Collins Won, Now He Must Resign

Chris Collins won.

Now he must resign.

The votes have been counted and the tally is known, and a winner in the 27th District of New York has been determined.

Incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Collins came out on top.

And now he must show himself to the door.

Collins is free on bail and facing federal insider-trading charges. It is very likely that he is guilty of these charges and will ultimately be sentenced to a federal penitentiary. The accusations have caused him to be removed from all committee assignments in the current 115th Congress and in the looming 116th Congress.

That renders him useless as a representative of NY 27. His conduct has disqualified him from further service in the House of Representatives.

Yes, I understand about innocent until proven guilty. But I have spoken to Republican members of Congress, and to people expert in investigating, defending and prosecuting the sort of crimes of which he is accused. And every single person has said that Collins is guilty as sin, and that the government has him dead to rights.

Further, some acknowledge privately counseling him to accept a plea agreement and to be prepared to go to prison.

Chris Collins is guilty, and eventually the criminal justice system will adjudicate him accordingly.

But the interests and people of the 27th District of New York can’t wait until then; this seat cannot be a parking space for a disgraced politician. He needs to be gone, and he needs to be gone now.

The presumption is that Collins ran for re-election so that he could barter his resignation from the House as part of a plea deal. That’s fine. But that barter cannot wait until his preposterously delayed court date in February of 2020. That date buys him another year as a free man, but if he does not resign now, it also buys NY 27 another year without effective representation, and another year with the stink of an embarrassing congressman hanging over our heads.

Hopefully, Collins’ lawyers and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York could make an arrangement in which his resignation from Congress now would be counted toward a plea agreement effectuated in the beginning of 2020. The government gets a conviction, Collins gets his year of freedom, and NY 27 gets a real congressman.

Because, let there be no doubt, it doesn’t have one now.

Collins is a shell of a man, the guilt of his actions showing in his face and in his paltry appearances in the district. He looks small and broken. He has lost the confidence of his caucus and of his constituents.

The county chairmen don’t want him, the gun owners don’t want him, the farmers don’t want him, the moms and dads who have to explain this to their children don’t want him. He will see that in the eyes of every constituent he encounters. And as he travels around the district, it won’t just be the old hippies in Geneseo who protest him, it’ll be the people who voted for him.

Chris Collins should not misinterpret his re-election.

That wasn’t a vote for him, it was a vote for country and principle. He was a means to an end, and now that the seat has been retained by the Republican Party, his usefulness is done. He must resign, so that a special election can be called, so that a real choice can be had, so that a real member of Congress can be elected.

And I say that as arguably the person who got Collins re-elected. His margin was about one-half of one percent of the votes cast. Thirteen-hundred people saved this seat for the conservative, patriotic, freedom-loving principles of the majority of the district, and I am confident that the argument in my column and on my radio show that a vote for Collins was right accounted for at least 1,300 votes.

Without a Collins push in the eastern half of the district, Nate McMurray goes to Congress.

So, Chris, you’re welcome. Now get the hell out.

Because we didn’t vote for you, we voted for America.

And we’re not going to sit through a long year of being second-class citizens because you lack the honor to accept responsibility for your actions.

Make your deal, submit your resignation, and let us move forward.

You, sir, are relieved.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) talks to reporters following a meeting with fellow members of Congress and representatives from the Donald Trump presidential campaign at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill April 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. The first member of Congress to endorse Trump, Collins said it is 'all but inevitable' that the real estate billionaire will get the 1237 delegates necessary to win the Republican presidential nomination during the first round of balloting at this summer's GOP convention in Cleveland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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