Facing indictment, Rep. Chris Collins ends re-election bid
In an about-face, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is ending his re-election bid days after the Republican congressman from New York was charged with insider trading, while his Democratic challenger is calling on him to resign immediately.
Collins released a statement Saturday morning saying he will suspend his campaign and finish the rest of his term. Collins was indicted Wednesday on charges he passed inside information about a biotechnology company to family members so they could profit from illicit trades. He had said later that day he would remain on the ballot despite the indictment and fight the charges.
But Collins reversed himself Saturday. “I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress,” his statement said.
He went on to say he will fill out his term and “continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me.” He has denied any wrongdoing.
Collins’ decision to end his re-election bid appeared to boost Democrats’ chances of taking in a solidly Republican district, but the announcement left unanswered questions including how Collins’ name could be removed from the ballot.
The Democratic candidate in the November election, Nate McMurray, said in a statement Saturday that Collins has no choice but to quit Congress, given the seriousness of the allegations against him.
It is “a continuing disgrace that both parties have not said, with one clear voice, ‘Resign, Mr. Collins, and do it today,”’ said McMurray, a supervisor for the town of Grand Island in western New York.
Wednesday’s indictment charges Collins and two others, including his son, with conspiracy, wire fraud and other counts.
Prosecutors say the charges relate to a scheme to gain insider information about a biotechnology company headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Auckland, New Zealand.
It is unclear whether Collins’ name can be removed from the November ballot at this point and whether Republican Party officials will be able to nominate another candidate for the seat.