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GOP leaders adopt 'go slow' approach to seeking Collins successor

Even as a bevy of potential GOP candidates for the vacated 27th Congressional District seat continue furious campaigning following this week’s resignation of Chris Collins, state and local party leaders are calling for a time out.

State Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy said Wednesday he and the district’s eight county leaders agreed in a Tuesday conference call to postpone any official consideration of the 2020 contest until after this year’s general election on Nov. 5.

“There is no need to have any deliberations or have any interviews on this before Election Day 2019,” he said. “We need to keep our eyes on the prize. No one should feel compelled because of constant media or candidate inquiries.”

At least six Republicans have declared for the seat or been mentioned as a candidate even before Collins’ resignation and guilty pleas to federal insider trading charges earlier this week. Some have increased their public statements and activity now that the incumbent no longer figures in the district’s future.

Langworthy said he initiated the conference call to include instructions from party lawyers on procedures should Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo call for a special election. On Wednesday, Cuomo said on WBFO radio that he is considering an April 28 date to coincide with the presidential primary.

Erie County GOP Chairman Karl J. Simmeth Jr., who represents about 40% of the congressional district’s weighted vote, said he and the other county leaders agree with the "go slow" approach.

“I want to know how the other chairmen feel,” he said. “We should just wait and see.”

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