(CBS) – Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, announced Saturday morning that he is suspending his re-election campaign. Collins was indicted on charges on insider trading for allegedly using his knowledge as a board member of a biotechnology company to help his son make illicit stock trades.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Collins said he decided it is in the best interest of constituents, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda to suspend his re-election campaign to Congress, adding that he “will fill out the remaining few months” of his term.
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) August 11, 2018
“Democrats are laser focused on taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi speaker and then launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump,” Collins said in the statement. “They would like nothing more than to elect an ‘impeach Trump’ Democrat in this district, which is something that neither our country or my party can afford.”
Nate McMurray, Collins’ Democratic opponent, has said that he would not vote for current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House.
At a press conference Wednesday evening, Collins said he intended to run for re-election. He is hardly the first member of Congress to be indicted while in office, and there is precedent for representatives to be re-elected even while under indictment. However, while Collins’ district is solidly Republican, the charges against him have helped national Democrats see the race against him in a new light. As Democrats now see his seat as vulnerable, Collins may have decided that it was more important to ensure the district remain in Republican hands than to bet that he would be re-elected.
Collins, his son, and his son’s fiancée’s father were arraigned on Wednesday. Each of them pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud, conspiracy and others. Collins denied any wrongdoing at his conference on Wednesday, and did so again in his statement Saturday.
“I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing,” he said.
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