Republicans, Democrats rally hard in Ontario County

With polls showing the 27th Congressional District race is now nearly a dead heat, candidates are pulling out all the stops. That included a stop in Canandaigua on Saturday by U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and more visits in Ontario County by his challenger, Democrat Nate McMurray.

“This election could come down to control of Congress being one seat,” Collins said at the VoteRedRally hosted by the Ontario County Republican Committee. The three-term congressman, a late addition to the rally lineup, arrived at county GOP headquarters on Bristol Street where a crowd rallied Republican candidates running for several offices, including sheriff and state Senate.

“The race comes down to if you like the direction the country is going … if you like the stance of President Trump, whether it’s trade, tax reform, Second Amendment rights, you’re going to vote for me,” said Collins. The first House member to publicly back Trump, Collins’ voting record falls nearly 99 percent in step with Trump, according to the data website FiveThirtyEight, which tracks how often lawmakers vote with the president.

Collins also addressed his Aug. 8 indictment on insider trading and lying to the FBI.

“My supporters understand that I’m innocent and these are meritless charges,” Collins said. “I’ll get my day to defend that but right now this race is all about making sure NY-27 stays Republican.”

McMurray’s visits over the weekend included a house party on Seneca Point Road in South Bristol on Friday and a “Victory for Nate” rally Sunday at Gypsum Mills Clubhouse in Victor. McMurray has been vocal about ethical concerns surrounding Collins.

On Friday, after a recent poll showed the 27th race close, McMurray announced “Republicans for Nate,” a steering committee of supporters from across the district who are crossing party lines to vote for McMurray.

“I want someone in the seat of the 27th who I can depend on to represent our concerns,” said Susan Besaw of Canandaigua, a McMurray campaign volunteer. “I don’t think Republicans represent a great many of the people now.”

“Nate will represent all the folks in the 27th district. He cares about what we care about,” said McMurray supporter Candace Ryan of South Bristol. She mentioned health care and the environment among other issues.

A rally for McMurray is planned for Thursday in Victor, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Maple Ave and Route 96.

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