The last time we checked in on New York Congressman Chris Collins (R) after his arrest for insider trading, the bizarre story of his continuing political career had quieted down considerably. After initially suspending his campaign, Collins decided to make a run for another term in office in his western New York district. Since his trial wouldn’t be starting until this year, there was no danger of him being frog-marched out of office in the middle of the campaign.
He went on to win (though far more narrowly than in previous years) and I’d assumed he’d be spending a fair portion of the start of his new term getting ready to defend himself in court. But it turns out that he must really believe he’s going to be found not guilty because he’s already ramping up for the 2020 election. It may be a bit of a rocky road, however, because his initial fundraising efforts have been rather, um… lackluster to say the least. (Daily Beast)
Not a single human being donated to Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-N.Y.) reelection campaign in the first three months of 2019.
Collins, who is facing federal securities fraud charges, brought in just $5,000 in the first quarter of the year, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission this week. That’s compared to the roughly $280,000 he raised in the same period during the 2018 election cycle. And this time around, none of the money came from individual contributors.
Yes, Congressman Collins brought in a grand total of $5,000 from two PACs and not a single cent from individual donors. (Not even his own family?) That should probably be sending some sort of message.
At this point, the GOP has a problem on their hands with Collins yet again. As I said about the Collins situation last year, Republicans found themselves in danger of losing what was otherwise a very safe seat in a red district over this. It’s safe enough that Collins could probably sneak through even with this cloud hanging over his campaign (as he did), but many of us assumed that once the seat had been kept in GOP hands, he could quietly resign and let the Governor schedule a special election to pick a new Republican with fewer “issues” dragging them down.
That should have been the plan, anyway, but it sounds like Collins isn’t going to play ball. If he beats the rap, then I suppose that’s fine. But if he drags this out to the bitter end and winds up in prison we’re going to have a much shorter runway to get another candidate on the ballot and in shape to win. Plus, news about the trial will be hanging over the entire race. Unless someone can convincingly make the case that he’s got a good shot at beating the rap, the New York GOP might want to consider backing a primary challenger just as an insurance policy.