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The Return of Chris Collins

26 Mar

Just a few short months ago, the voters of Erie County rejected political hobbyist Chris Collins’ bid for a second term as County Executive by an unexpectedly wide margin. Although polls showed that Poloncarz had momentum, Collins wasn’t expected to lose, and it was supposed to go past election day into absentee-counting. Neither of those things happened, and Collins was sent home. 

A corporate raider with a Six Sigma fetish, Collins returned to said he was done with political life for now. 

Yet now that the congressional lines have been re-drawn, Collins’ ego compels him to seek out and destroy those who have succeeded where he has failed. It was last May when Kathy Hochul pulled off an epic upset against Collins’ Spaulding Lake neighbor, Jane Corwin. There wasn’t a lot of sunlight between Corwin’s and Collins’ teams, and they ran just horrible races that relied on money. It’s the 1%’s occupational hazard. 

Conservative Republican and Iraq War Veteran David Bellavia has already announced his candidacy for Congress, and his experience with the Collins crew has been rocky. Way back in 2008, Bellavia agreed to step aside to allow Chris Lee to get the Republican nod in NY-26 and run against Democrat Alice Kryzan. In exchange for that, he was promised that he’d be on deck to run next time. When the next time came around with Chris Lee’s abrupt resignation in 2011, Collins and the party apparatus strong-armed him out of the race like something out of a Sopranos episode.  Specifically, Chris Collins, Carl Paladino, and Rus Thompson cornered Batavia in the back room of a coffee shop to convince, cajole, and intimidate him into quitting the race. 

Bellavia isn’t stepping aside for anyone this time, and it’s expected that he’s going to take the fight to Collins with a vengeance. Collins is used to attacks from the left over things like rat control, health clinics, day care, and cultural funding. What he’s not used to – or, likely, ready for – is attacks from the right. Collins is busy telling people his values better reflect those of the new 27th district, but Bellavia is going to challenge Collins on that point, and he’s taken on tougher opponents than some gruff rich jerk. 

In concluding my March 2011 post about the attempted intimidation of David Bellavia, I wrote: 

Corwin is scared. Collins is scared. Paladino wants people to be scared of him. How fascinating that Chris Lee’s shirtless tranny hunting let all of WNY see that political party for what it really is.

Corwin and Collins had every reason to be scared, and Paladino’s infrequent whining-by-memo has no one afraid of him. Chris Collins is a local version of Mitt Romney, and I have a hard time believing that Republicans in WNY are going to be enthusiastic about this recent loser. Collins’ schtick may play well in Amherst and other Buffalo suburbs, but I have my doubts over how he’s going to come across in the GLOW counties. 

I hope Bellavia makes it conceptually impossible for Collins ever to seek elected office again. With Michael Caputo on his team, he’ll do to Collins what Paladino did to Lazio.

Let the games begin.