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Democrats fighting 'fraudulent' effort to get indicted Collins off NY ballot

Democrats may sue to prevent Republicans from taking Rep. Chris Collins' name off the November ballot in New York. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), recently indicted in an insider trading scandal, suspended his re-election campaign last week, but Democrats will do whatever it takes to keep his name on the ballot in November, according to The Hill.

New York election laws make it very difficult for a candidate to get his or her name removed from a ballot without dying, moving, or running for another office. And state Democrats like it that way — they don't want to give the GOP a chance to put a more positively-received candidate on the ballot.

"Our contention and a lot of people's contention is this is fraudulent to get him off the ballot," Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner claimed in an interview with The Hill. "This is borderline fraud. It is too late to get him off the ballot."

What's going on?

Republican officials are looking for any loophole they can find to get Collins, now a radioactive candidate due to his criminal charges, off the ballot.

Some potential options include Collins running for a local judgeship or Republicans convincing someone holding a local office to resign so Collins can run for that office. The former option is unlikely, as Collins doesn't have a law degree, and the latter will trigger a Democratic lawsuit.

"I think these guys should be held accountable," said Democratic challenger Nate McMurray. "They shouldn't be able to hit reset or take a mulligan. If they try to get him to run for another office, I will call it out for what it is: a fraud upon the United States."

Could Collins still win?

There is some thought in New York that even with the charges, Collins could be re-elected if his name is on the ballot because New York's 27th is an extremely red district.

At that point, if Collins decided to resign the seat, a special election would be held. McMurray said he would run again in that scenario, telling The Hill, "I'm in this to win it."

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