Not a lot of House exits this cycle have been good news for Republicans, but this one is an exception. Indicted GOP Rep. Chris Collins resigned today as part of a guilty plea deal on charges of insider trading. Collins was the only reason this seat — which Trump carried by 24 points in 2016 — was remotely at risk in 2020. Without him, Republicans should have a much easier time holding this suburban Buffalo district.
One of President Trump's first congressional endorsers, Collins came within 1,087 votes of losing in 2018 and other Republicans didn't wait for him to step aside before launching their 2020 campaigns. Attorney/Fox News commentator Beth Parlato and state Sen. Chris Jacobs had already announced, and now Iraq veteran David Bellavia, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Michajliw and others could join.
Under New York law, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have wide latitude to schedule a special election, and some are speculating he could set it for April 28 to coincide with the Democratic presidential primary. Attorney/2018 Democratic nominee Nate McMurray never stopped running, but would need another GOP meltdown to have a chance. For now, this race moves from Lean Republican to Solid Republican.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig