In a statement released late this afternoon, Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced that he is withdrawing from the Republican Primary contest in New York’s 27th district, where Rep. Chris Collins resigned upon being convicted of insider trading charges.
The development is seen as a major boost to the candidacy of State Senator Robert Ortt, who is leading among Republican contenders for the nomination. It’s widely thought that Hawley’s support in Genesee and Orleans County is likely to shift to Ortt, who represents the area in the Senate.
“After much consideration with my friends and family, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for the open 27th Congressional District seat in Congress at this time,” Hawley wrote in a statement circulated to supporters.
“Serving the residents of the 139th District in the State Assembly has been one of the highest honors of my life and our state faces a host of pressing challenges that cannot be ignored. Thus, my friends and neighbors deserve a full-time Assemblyman and someone who is laser-focused on meeting those challenges and moving our state forward,” he explains.
“While it would be an extreme honor to serve as a member of the House of Representatives and serve with honesty and integrity as exemplified by our family’s close friend, former Congressman Barber B. Conable, Jr., I am confident that whoever is chosen to run will exhibit these attributes,” he adds.
“It is crucial for the fate of our state and our country that this Congressional Seat remains in Republican hands and I am confident that whoever should be elected this April will do a tremendous job representing us in Washington,” Hawley concluded.
State Senator Chris Jacobs, Darien Town Justice Beth Parlato, and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw are also contending for the nomination, which will be decided by the nine-county chairs who comprise the 27th district, in weighted proportion to their respective enrollments.
Hanging heavily over the selection is the new State Chairman Nick Langworthy, who has been keeping a watchful eye on his Erie County turf, over which he reigned as chairman. The State Chairman says that he will not play a role in the selection of the nominee, but Jacobs recently hired Langworthy’s wife to serve as his fundraising staffer. Many in the party have been raising questions about the propriety of that arrangement.
Jacobs is seen as a ‘big-government’ Republican who would be susceptible to a Libertarian splinter candidacy on the right, particularly given his views on the Second Amendment.