Collins opponent calls for resignation amid insider trading charges

Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsWhat a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Trump vents frustration over wall funding, fueling uncertainty over shutdown GOP scrambles to prevent shutdown after right-wing insurrection MORE’ (R-N.Y.) opponent, Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray came out swinging Saturday, calling for Collins' resignation.

McMurray slammed the Trump ally at a press conference following Collins’ announcement that he would be suspending his reelection campaign while he faces insider trading charges.

“Mr. Collins needed to suspend his campaign, but beyond that he needs to resign. … We need to have a clean break from this era of dark politics and corruption, of backroom deals. It needs to end.”

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McMurray, who is running for New York's 27th Congressional District — a deeply red seat — also took aim at the Republican Party, claiming it would try to deceive voters should they try to replace Collins on the ticket.

“They’re going to reach deep into their bag of tricks. It’s going to be an ugly process, they’re going to try to manipulate you once again," McMurray said.

"They’re going to try to say, ‘well this is okay, this new guy, whoever we put in is going to be great.’ But can we believe that that same broken system that told us Chris Collins is a great person and will be a great representative of our region, do we believe that system works?” he continued.

Collins, who faces insider trading charges, turned himself in to the FBI on Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege that while serving on the board of pharmaceutical company Innate Immunotherapeutics, Collins gave nonpublic information about drug trial results to his family to make advantageous trades and to help avoid losing hundreds of thousands in investments.

Collins’ son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins's fiancée, were also charged.

The Democratic challenger went on to denounce any potential replacement for Collins, implying their candidacy should be seen as illegitimate in the eyes of voters. 

“Is it right that these same party bosses who betrayed your trust should have the opportunity to force on us some other alternative, to hit the reset button, to take a mulligan and say, ‘hey, everything we said about Chris Collins, forget it, it’s all good’?” he said.

At least two Republicans have already hinted their interest at taking Collins' place.

New York businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino (R) and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw (R) both tweeted out that they were "all in" Saturday, though it is unclear how the two men intend to get their names on the ballot. The campaign filing deadline passed in April.

McMurry attempted to cast his candidacy as one that transcends party and politics on Saturday.

“This is not a country of two warring camps. We’re a country of good people. … Don’t listen to the nonsense on television about how we’re supposed to hate each other. Let’s work together, let’s move beyond this party machine that forced Chris Collins on us," he said. "I don’t kiss rings, and nobody owns me.”