A young Republican is challenging Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, to a primary. Frank Smierciak II said he’s running because of “lackluster performance of current congressional leadership.”
Collins has not commented, but apparently, he has brought in his legal team to challenge and invalidate the 1,000 plus signatures Smierciak collected to get on the ballot. If Collins can disqualify Smierciak through some technicality, the voters will never have a chance to decide between to the two candidates.
Collins’ apparent legalistic approach is too much, especially considering the comments by Collins and his subordinates about party bosses controlling the Democratic primary and his attempts to encourage a robust debate among his Democratic challengers.
Collins sole Democratic challenger, Nate McMurray, thinks Collins is being hypocritical. McMurray says, “All we heard out of that camp for months was the importance of a fair process. And they were right. We did not have a primary, but we a robust buildup, with lots of public appearances and debates. I’m hoping Chris does the noble thing and take the lawyers out of this. He should get up on the stage, just like I did, and face his young challenger!”
Beyond that, McMurray had kind words for Smierciak. “Anyone who goes out in the cold of March and gets all those signatures deserves credit for diligence. That’s impressive. Do I agree with his positions? Frank and I don’t seem to have all that much in common. Still, like I said, I’m impressed. Collins should take him seriously. Frank might win.”
If Collins’ lawyers fail and Smierciak does get on the ballot and win, McMurray pledges, “Mr. Smierciak, I promise to debate you in public. That’s how Democracy works.” McMurray added, referring to Collins strange move to meet with McMurray’s former primary challengers in private, “I will not, however, be sitting down with you for any closed door meetings. If we debate, it will where the public can see.”