Both Parties Meet in Clarence Yesterday with a Focus on NY 27

Candidates invited to GOP picnic; Dems looking to block Collins

August 17, 2018 - 5:47 am

CLARENCE (WBEN) - After several candidates who could replace Congressman Chris Collins met with GOP officials in Livingston County on Wednesday, some of them were in Clarence on Thursday.

The Clarence GOP picnic in Town Park is an annual event, but this year was a little different and certainly more newsworthy. There was an open invitation to potential candidates for NY 27, and Channel 7 was able to catch up with a few of them.

Their messages were consistent with what they said at the meeting in Livingston County - with Legislator Edward Rath and State Senator Robert Ortt channeling their inner Sean McDermott, and discussing the "process."

"The message to everyone tonight is that we have to trust the process," said Rath. Ortt furthered his comments.

"We'll see where this process goes," began Ortt. "I think they're being very deliberative, but hopefully we get the right candidate sooner than later so that person can get out there."

They also alluded to rallying behind the winner, no matter who that may be. Here's Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw:

"I've said from day one, I feel as though I am the strongest candidate," he said. "But, whoever they decide, I'll be behind 100 percent, no matter who it is."

But Republicans weren't the only busy party in Clarence last night.

Rebecca Bylewski, who serves as Chair of the Clarence Democratic Committee, spoke at town hall. It's safe to say her opinion of Collins isn't particularly favorable.

"Chris Collins' arrest, and the exposure of his shameful conduct is a game-change," said Bylewski.

The main message from Democrats? To block Collins from future positions.

"I came out to urge the local officials who may be asked and attempted to be persuaded to leave their office to give up a seat for Chris Collins, to please not do so," said Michelle Schoeneman, who co-founded Citizen's Against Collins. She also said she's optimistic about the Democrats' chances in November.

"I do think it's going to turn blue; I think we are at a tipping point here."

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