Rep. Chris Collins‘ arrest and indictment for insider trading, securities fraud, and making material false statements to a federal agent have effectively ended his political career — dooming any chance for reelection at this late date in the election calendar.
Republican operatives are furious with Collins — who is refusing to resign his office or step aside in his reelection effort for another member of the party. Senator Rob Ortt, attorney Todd Aldinger, and Chairman Nick Langworthy have emerged as the leading names being floated to replace Collins on the ballot line in November.
Larry Piegza is the Reform Party’s nominee for Congress in the 27th district. If Collins refuses to step aside, it’s expected that much of the Republican base would prefer to cast their vote for Piegza, a Conservative, on the Reform line rather than condoning Collins’ behavior. Observers predict that an exceedingly wealthy Congressman indicted on insider trading would have a very difficult time in the 27th district, which is heavily Republican but very rural and very working class.
“I’ve been sounding the alarm that Chris Collins has broken the law. Rather than risk getting a Democrat elected, I knew we needed to get another conservative, Pro-2nd Amendment, pro-business entrepreneur on the ballot,” Piegza said.
“The voters in NY 27 still have a conservative option on the ballot this November. If elected, I plan to protect gun rights and balance the budget. I will put our farms and small businesses first. I will caucus with Republicans – traditional fiscal conservatives,” he adds.
Piegza is the owner of Gap Technologies, Inc., and has lived in Western New York all his life. His company develops software for colleges and universities. Gap is also developing a new product, eDemocracy.us, a virtual town hall platform for congressional representatives. The business is 15 years old, with no debt.
“Many people are asking if I still plan on donating my congressional salary to charity if I get elected, and my answer is still ‘Yes!’ I’m not running for office for the money. I am running because I want to work hard for the community I’ve lived in for my entire life. Everyone knows we need to drain the swamp – not just as a catchy campaign slogan – but we really need to do it. And we aren’t going to be able to do it if we don’t get qualified candidates in office.”
In the past, the Reform Party has always endorsed Collins. The party’s executive committee leadership — including Curtis Sliwa, Frank Morano, and the familiar Curtis Ellis — broke from that this year when allegations against the congressman were raised.
“The Reform Party has long believed in reforming the political and electoral process, eliminating corruption and special interest control of governmental policies, and returning more power to the people,” explained Charlie Flynn, head of the Reform Party’s local selection committee.
“The Reform Party advocates for term limits for congressman and judges, instant runoff voting, and mechanisms for a more direct democracy. The partisan fighting in Congress this year has disgusted many people. People want a balanced budget, not a circus show,” Flynn adds.
Piegza is endorsed by Unite America, a group that advocates for a three party system.