Democratic leaders from the eight counties of the 27th Congressional District officially endorsed Grand Island Supervisor Nathan McMurray late Thursday as their candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Chris Collins in November.
Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said the conference call of party chiefs unanimously settled on McMurray, an attorney who lives outside the district but is allowed by election law to compete for the Collins seat. Zellner said it is still not known if the other four Democrats who have declared their candidacy will back the choice of party leaders or challenge McMurray in a primary.
The other candidates include East Aurora attorney Sean B. Bunny, Amherst businesswoman Joan Elizabeth Seamans, Mumford businessman Nicholas Stankevich and Orchard Park engineer Thomas P. Casey.
“From the start, our goal was simple: identify the best candidate to beat Chris Collins,” said Judith Hunter, Livingston County Democratic chairwoman, “and create the best possible conditions for victory in November.”
Collins spokesman Bryan Piligra immediately jumped on the endorsement by noting McMurray's residence outside the district and recent criticism of his use of government email to discuss his congressional candidacy.
"Congratulations to NY-26 resident Nathan McMurray on beating out several actual NY-27 residents to win the support of the Democrat party bosses," Piligra said. "This selection shows the Democrats learned nothing from the 2016 election and are again kicking progressives to the curb by rigging the primary to benefit an out-of-district Hillary Clinton wannabe with an email problem."
Story topics: Political notebook