Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York abandoned his reelection bid in August after charges were filed against him for insider trading. Now, with no clear path to replace him with another Republican candidate, he will remain on the ballot. It’s not clear if he will actively campaign to keep his seat or not.
“Because of the protracted and uncertain nature of any legal effort to replace Congressman Collins we do not see a path allowing Congressman Collins to be replaced on the ballot,” Mark Braden, legal counsel for Collins, said in a statement Monday.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York charged Collins last month. They alleged that the congressman, while he was a board member of Australian company Innate Immunotherapeutics, gave a tip to his son Cameron last year about a failed drug trial that would soon be announced. His son used that information to dump the stock and avoid a six-figure loss, the Justice Department alleges, and Cameron Collins passed that information along to his father-in-law.
The GOP should abandon the seat and take it back in 2020. They’re in a no-win situation. If they campaign for Collins and he loses, it will be a waste of resources. If they campaign for him and he wins, it will be used against them nationwide as an example of corruption having no effect on the right-leaning electorate. Politics over ethics, the Democrats will say.
Let the seat fall. Don’t campaign. Return in 2020 with a squeaky-clean candidate and put the seat back in your pocket. Making any effort to keep it now will be an insult to voters.
The one thing they could do if they really don’t want to lose the seat is run an independent conservative candidate. It would cost a ton of money because they’d need it to be a write-in candidate at this late stage. Pulling it off would require hundreds if not thousands of boots on the ground going to every potential Republican voter’s house and alerting them of the plan.