NY27 Candidates in a State of Limbo

Governor Cuomo has not officially set special election date

Brendan Keany
November 06, 2019 - 6:27 pm

BUFFALO (WBEN) - While a date isn't set in stone, Governor Andrew Cuomo has publicly stated that he'd prefer any special election for New York's 27th Congressional District to be held on the same day as the state's presidential primary, which is Tuesday, April 28.

The seat is currently empty due to Chris Collins' resignation earlier this year, which means the district could potentially be without federal representation for nearly seven full months, as Collins resigned at the end of September.

State Senator Chris Jacobs was the earliest of challengers to declare his candidacy for the district, and if Cuomo does get his way, Jacobs believes a late-April special election, especially one that coincides with the presidential primary, would be wholly unfair to the constituents of the district.

"Waiting till April leaves this district unrepresented for far too long, so I think the election should be much sooner," said Jacobs. "The people of this district deserve representation; we have a lot going on in Congress right now - the impeachment debacle right now - so we need representation immediately."

With the element of the unknown in when exactly the special election could be held, State Senator and NY27 candidate Rob Ortt says it's been a challenge to figure out exactly how to campaign, especially since there will be a primary held for the seat on June 23.

"There's no question that not knowing exactly when the special is, even right now for sure, makes it a little bit of a moving target," said Ortt. "I think that also can be said for voters; they don't really know yet. Once the special election is called, this thing is going to turn into a sprint real quickly."

NY27 has not only drawn local attention in recent years, but it has also caught the eye of the national media as well. With a couple years marred by indictments, scandal, etc., do constituents simply want a return to normalcy? Lawyer and candidate Beth Parlato doesn't think so.

"I don't feel they're looking for a return to normalcy because let's just look at the history of our seat..." began Parlato. "It hasn't really been normal - we've had some bad history here in New York 27, I've lived here my entire life, so what I think the constituents are looking for is not back to the same ole same ole, but they're looking for something new; they're looking for something different; they're looking for a new voice."

Learn more about the candidates below:

What separates you from the field of candidates to be most qualified for this position?

"The biggest thing that separates us is my background and my story, which I think uniquely qualifies at this current time in our country's history," said Ortt. "What we need right now in Washington is not just someone who's happy to go there, sort of sit at the table and be happy to be there. We've talked about flipping the table over if necessary - going there to advance the cause and the agenda of the people of this district, and really to defend the values that make this country what it is. I'm someone who's served in combat - I'm the only veteran in this race."

Listen to Ortt's full comments below:

"Although I'm not an elected official like the other ones, I am the candidate that lives in the district - I'm the only candidate who's announced and filed that lives here," said Parlato. "I've lived here my entire life, and I don't believe that name ID is going to be an issue at all. With my conservative activism and my roots in the community for as long as I've had, my name ID is as good as anybody's, and I'm out there...I'm meeting hundreds of people every day for three solid months...I'm very principled, and I have my beliefs and my conservative values. The way that I've ran my business and the way that I run my household stands on the conservative principles, fiscally, and that's going to speak for itself."

Listen to Parlato's full comments below:

"I believe the distinguishing element for me, first and foremost, I consider myself a businessperson - I owned my own business that I started over 15 years ago, so I know what it's like trying to run a business in Upstate New York, trying to create jobs, trying to deal with overly burdensome regulation and taxes, and I believe small business is where it's at as far as driving this economy forward," said Jacobs. "We need to have more pro-small business policies, whether that small business be a real estate company like mine, or a small family farm that's struggling in this environment. I also distinguish myself in that I've served stints at the very local level on a school board all the way to the federal government level working with Jack Kemp at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, so I think I have sufficient public sector experience, but with a private sector mindset..."

Listen to Jacobs' full comments below:

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