Republican Rep. Chris Collins appeared to hold onto his western New York congressional seat Tuesday night even as he stares down a federal trial for insider training charges.
But Democrat Nate McMurray claimed he planned to challenge the results, almost an hour and a half after he initially conceded the race.
At around 11:30 p.m. ET, with no networks calling the race, McMurray thanked supporters, telling them he was “going to come up a little short tonight.” Collins declared victory saying, “I will continue to do my job. All is good.”
NBC News subsequently called the race for Collins, but McMurray’s campaign issued a statement announcing that they would call for a recount.
“After examining the numbers, the margin is 1% and the will of the voters must be heard. We are demanding a recount. Mr. Collins is going to need another set of lawyers,” the campaign said.
The contest in New York’s dark red 27th Congressional District was rated as “lean Republican.” But the GOP incumbent faced a real challenge from McMurray, a Grand Island town supervisor who told TPM it was “embarrassing” for his indicted opponent to even remain in the race.
Collins is a diehard Trump loyalist who was the first Republican congressman to endorse his presidential campaign.
In August, he was charged with fraud in connection with an alleged insider-trading scheme related to his investments in Australian drug company Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins is accused of providing information about a failing drug trial to his son, his son’s fiancé, and his son’s father-in-law.
After he was arrested and pleaded not guilty, Collins agreed to suspend his campaign out of the “best interest of the constituents.”
Yet, he reversed course in mid-September, saying the “radical left” could not be allowed to take over his seat. Collins then launched several negative campaign ads against McMurray, including one that featured the Democratic nominee speaking in Korean as photos of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un flashed on the screen. The ad misleadingly suggested that McMurray, who is married to a South Korean woman and speaks the language fluently, was talking about shipping jobs overseas. He was actually talking about bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Collins’ federal trial is slated to start in February 2020.