Ortt Makes It Official; Throws Hat Into 27th District Race

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Current New York State Senator Rob Ortt.


By: Tony Farina

As we reported in the July 30 editions of the Niagara Reporter, State Sen. Robert Ortt was close to making a decision about running for Congress in the 27th District for the seat currently occupied by indicted Rep. Chris Collins who is facing a a federal trial in February on insider trading charges.  Last Saturday, in Lockport and Batavia news conferences, Ortt made it official.

“Some people want to go to Washington and bring everybody to the table;  I want to flip the table over,” said the decorated Afghan war veteran and popuar state lawmaker from Niagara County.

Ortt, a Republican and a former mayor of North Tonawanda, lost much of his political power in Albany with the takeover of the State Senate by Democrats in the last election but in his announcement for Congress he emphasized his stellar conservative voting record as a state senator and pledged his support for President Trump.

A recent poll found Collins, an early backer of the president, enjoys overwhelming support in the heavily Republican district despite his legal problems although he has not said as yet whether he will seek re-election next year.  His decision will likely come after his trial now slated for February.

Ortt was first elected to the State Senate in 2014 and Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo said recently, “Sen. Ortt had the strongest Conservative voting record in the State Senate last year.”

Ortt joins a crowded Republican field eyeing Collins’ seat including State Sen. Chris Jacobs, who like Ortt lost his Albany majority party seat; attorney Beth Parlato from Genesee County, and possibly others, including Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw Jr.  On the Demcoratic side, Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray, who ran a strong race against Collins in the last election, says he’s going to run again although the landscape–and the field—is far different than when he took on the wounded Collins the last time.  Collins seems to be on the rebound despite the upcoming trial.

Niagara County GOP Chairman Rich Andres praised Ortt as an exciting candidate who could be well received in the sprawling rural district which includes all of Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties as well as parts of Erie,Monroe, Ontario and Niagara counties.

Political observers believe Ortt is making a smart political decision by jumping into the race and getting his name out there despite the long odds of winning the nomination against Collins, if he runs, or the very wealthy Jacobs who already boasts a war chest of more than $740,000.


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