Another Democrat is now a candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District.
Businessman Nicholas Stankevich said Monday he will seek the Democratic nomination throughout the 11-county district for a contest still more than a year in the future.
“As an entrepreneur and local businessperson, I know that we can do better,” he said. “The challenges facing our towns and our country are enormous, and it’s time we elect someone who will stand up for all of us in Washington by putting people first. This campaign is about rolling up our sleeves and fixing the problems facing our communities.”
The new candidate said bringing good jobs and protecting the environment will rank as priorities, as well as promoting an “ethically responsible approach in business.”
An Elma native, Stankevich has pent the last several years living in California where was an advisor to local businesses and was active in Democratic politics.
Stankevich now joins Sean B. Bunny, a former Erie County assistant district attorney and Army veteran who declared his candidacy last week. Thomas P. Casey, who has previously run for several offices as a Democrat, has also expressed interest.
None of those exploring a run against Collins are currently considered major threats because of their lack of name recognition and paltry campaign treasuries in comparison to the incumbent. But they have been encouraged by ethical problems surrounding Collins, who is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics in relation to his role as majority stock holder in an Australian biomedical firm.
A report issued earlier this month recommended the House Ethics Committee probe any potential conflict between Collins’ public and private roles. And though no major Democrats have yet declared for the most Republican congressional district in New York State, some Democratic leaders see at least a crack in the incumbent’s previous invincibility at the polls because of the new ethical questions.
Democratic leaders throughout the district remain non-committal on an endorsement at this early point. But Erie County Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner noted last week that designating petitions for the post begin circulating in March. As a result, he said party leaders will begin to focus on the 2018 election soon after this November’s contests.