David Bellavia will serve the country, but not in Congress

AUDIO: “My country needs me. My army has given me an opportunity to serve"

Tim Wenger
October 20, 2019 - 3:43 pm
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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) – After a great deal of contemplation, soul-searching and consultation with area political leaders, David Bellavia will sit out running for Congress in NY27.

Bellavia has long been considered to be the frontrunner if he were to run and has been the subject of intense speculation by the candidates who are already declared and some who are contemplating a run for the seat vacated recently by Chris Collins.

The decision, now that it is known, will likely again unleash another political tidal wave as both declared and undeclared candidates organize and adjust their strategies.

“I am from this region. A rural son of ny 27. This decision is truly not difficult for me at all”, Bellavia told WBEN upon making the decision known.  “My country needs me. My army has given me an opportunity to serve. This is best for me and for my family. And ultimately making the Army stronger is what is best for all us. I am forever grateful to be a part of the greatest organization I have ever known”, Bellavia stated

Since receiving the Medal of Honor in June, Bellavia has been on a national tour of speaking engagements and appearances on behalf of the US Army and he’ll continue to serve the Army in a more formal capacity moving forward, sources tell us. 

Bellavia is expected to continue as a regular host on the “Bauerle and Bellavia” program on WBEN.

Bellavia told WBEN recently he had made up his mind some time ago but did not make the decision public because he hadn’t yet been able to consult with all the political players involved in the complicated race that will see a special election set in the next several months by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The field of candidates running for the NY27 seat is already a deep one and includes State Senator Chris Jacobs.  “I believe the 27th congressional district needs a representative can use all his power to help the district," said Jacobs to WBEN as Collins was awaiting his insider trading trial.  Collins has since resigned his seat, entered a guilty plea and will be sentenced in January.

Jacobs says he is a supporter of President Trump, contrary to what some detractors say. "I voted for the President, I support the President and his agenda. They ignore the analysis that was used to say it. Their never Trumper statement is a lie. I will tell the truth when I become a member of Congress," says Jacobs.

Another State Senator in the race is Rob Ortt, who released the following statement after learning of Bellavia's decision:

“U.S. Army SSG. David Bellavia is a national hero who will continue to serve our country in a manner that we should all be grateful for. I commend David on his decision to continue representing the Army and for his work founding the Deuce Deuce Relief Fund, and I look forward to working with him in the future to ensure that our veterans are made a priority when returning home from combat. The health and well-being of our veterans are one of the reasons I have chosen to run for Congress, and the need for battle-tested veteran leadership in Washington, D.C. is greater now than ever before.”  

Another Republican challenger is attorney Beth Parlato.  Parlato says she's running because she's concerned about the direction of the country.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw has also expressed strong interest in the seat but has not declared candidacy formally.

Democrat Nate McMurray, who came within a hair of unseating Collins last year, is already actively campaigning in NY27.  "I care about NY27”, says McMurray, Grand Island Supervisor, as he awaits clarity on the GOP side.

Governor Cuomo has indicated he will set a date for the special election “sooner rather than later” and it is speculated it could coincide with New York’s Democratic Presidential primary day in April.

Following is a complete statement from David Bellavia:

I am formally announcing I will not run for Congress in the 27th District of New York in the upcoming Special Election. My service to our great community and country is unwavering, but I have a new responsibility to the U.S. Army. The Medal of Honor recognition is providing me with an incredible opportunity to serve at a level not thought possible just a few months ago. I am traveling the country, as an ambassador for Western New York, educating and influencing future soldiers and fellow citizens, as well as training and advising military leadership.

Acting upon my long-standing and sincere desire to run for Congress at this time would require me to set aside pre-existing commitments I have made to my Army, my family, and those with whom I do business. I have carefully considered the needs and advice of party leadership and those closest to me and I am extremely thankful and forever humbled by the overwhelming support from Western New York.

Go Bills!  Go Sabres!” 

 

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