WASHINGTON – Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. brought his shadow campaign for Congress to the nation's capital this week, meeting with a longtime leader of the most conservative caucus in the House and vowing to try to join it.
Mychajliw – who is expected to run for the congressional vacancy created when Chris Collins resigned his House seat on Oct. 1 – met with Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican and former chair of the House Freedom Caucus, on Wednesday.
It's all part of Mychajliw's courting of the Club for Growth, the Republican super PAC that recently intervened in the upcoming congressional race with an ad attacking State Sen. Chris Jacobs of Buffalo, the best-funded candidate in the race to date.
"I've interviewed with Club for Growth multiple times in Washington, in Buffalo," Mychajliw said. "And one of the things they recommended was touching base with members who are in the Freedom Caucus."
And so it was that Mychajliw met with Meadows and his chief of staff over breakfast to discuss the upcoming race for Congress from New York's 27th District. Meadows also introduced him to the current chair of the Freedom Caucus, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.
Great breakfast w/Conservative champion @RepMarkMeadows. Introduced me to @freedomcaucus Chair @RepAndyBiggsAZ. We need members that support President @realDonaldTrump when it’s tough-not just to win election. Congress needs fearless conservatives-not feckless politicians #MAGA pic.twitter.com/7REiCZPqLs
— Stefan Mychajliw (@StefanMychajliw) October 30, 2019
"I talked at length with Congressman Meadows about the importance of having a real conservative and someone who would fit into the Freedom Caucus as a representative for NY-27," Mychajliw said. "Because obviously the Freedom Caucus is by invitation only, he asked if I'd be willing to work hard to earn the invitation of the Freedom Caucus if I become a congressman, and I said absolutely yes, it would be an honor to be invited to join."
The Freedom Caucus clashed on occasion with the past two GOP speakers of the House, John Boehner and Paul Ryan.
"They’re anarchists," Boehner told Vanity Fair in 2017. "They want total chaos."
To hear Mychajliw tell it, though, the Freedom Caucus and the Club for Growth share values that resonate in the 27th District, a conservative stretch of territory between Buffalo and Rochester.
"If the Club for Growth endorsed me, I'd wear that like a badge of honor and I would proudly accept their support," Mychajliw said. "We're on the same page about making sure that we do not elect a 'never-Trumper.' "
Both Mychajliw and the Club for Growth have claimed that Jacobs opposed the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president, even though PolitiFact has debunked that claim.
Asked for comment on Mychajliw's courting of the Freedom Caucus and the Club for Growth, Jacobs said: "Residents of 27th Congressional District don’t want Washington insiders controlling this election. That’s why I will focus all my efforts on Western New Yorkers and their priorities, not cozying up to Washington special interests."
Collins resigned after pleading guilty to felony insider trading charges. County chairs in the district will pick the candidate in a special election that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo indicated may be held April 28. But a Republican primary for the congressional seat could quickly follow in June for the full two-year term in Congress beginning in January 2021.