NY27 Field Expected to Expand After Jacobs Announcement

Michael Caputo wooed as potential candidate

Tom Puckett
May 20, 2019 - 4:00 am

WBEN Photo/Matt Moran


Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The race for NY27 kicked off Friday with State Senator Chris Jacobs announcing he would seek the GOP nomination in a primary challenge against Chris Collins. Political experts believe it won't be long before Jacobs has company.

In fact we spoke with Michael Caputo as a GOP strategist for this story and Caputo himself is now being wooed as a potential NY 27 candidate. Caputo is being urged by many on social media to toss his hat into the race and tells WBEN's David Bellavia on "Hardline" he's at a "five" on a scale of ten as to whether or not he will.

"You gotta look at Stefan Mychaliw, who never stopped campaigning after Congressman Collins decided to stay in," says Caputo. "You gotta look at Rob Ortt, a state senator, who was eyeing it up when Collins was playing his Hamlet act. Of course, our own David Bellavia, has been brought up, not by him but others."Caputo says Jacobs has the advantage by announcing first. Another name that's come into mind is Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

"I would assume others would follow based on once the door opens, lots of horses can rush in," says Carl Calabrese, another GOP strategist, who agrees with Caputo on names to come to mind right away. 

Calabrese says Republicans have the advantage of the enrollment in the district. "It's one of the most Republican congressional districts in the state if not the country. It'll be a presidential year in 2020, and President Trump is very popular, so that will be an advantage they didn't have in the midterm," notes Calabrese. Can a Democrat win NY27? Calabrse says it's too early to tell. "We don't know which horses are running and we don't know the condition of the track as far what the issues will be whether they favor Republicans or Democrats."

"While I imagine Chris Collins has low approval, I don't see voters putting a Democrat in his place," says UB's Jacob Neihisel. Caputo says it depends. "Nate McMurray came within a hair of beating Collins, so if Collins is in, there will be a stiff challenge from the Democrats. If he gets beat in the primary or chooses not to run, it will be a walkaway for the GOP."

The other seat in question is Jacobs' seat in the state Senate. "They recruited him specifically for it. He was the best candidate for it, he still doesn't have much competition for it, but it's not a deep red district, so the party chairman will have to pick someone and be careful about," says Caputo, noting GOP leaders should look for someone who can self-finance a campaign.

Calabrese says Democrats will eye that seat. "They're looking that as a potential pick up in the Senate. It's too early to see who the candidates will be, but Chris Jacobs runs for Congress that seat will be open," says Calabrese. 

Neiheisel says the Senate district is more blue than the congressional district Jacobs seeks. "I think that's certainly one that will be favored for the Democrats to take back," says Neiheisel. 


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