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Chris Collins, New York Congressman, Suspends Re-election Bid After Insider Trading Charges

Chris Collins, New York Congressman, Suspends Re-election Bid After Insider Trading Charges

Representative Chris Collins, Republican of New York, reversed course on Saturday morning and announced he was suspending his campaign for re-election, days after federal prosecutors charged him with insider trading.Mr. Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump for president in 2016, had initially vowed to stay on the ballot…


Representative Chris Collins, Republican of New York, reversed course on Saturday morning and announced he was suspending his campaign for re-election, days after federal prosecutors charged him with insider trading.

Mr. Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump for president in 2016, had initially vowed to stay on the ballot this fall but said Saturday that he had decided it was “in the best interests” of his district, “the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda” to suspend his race.

Federal prosecutors have charged Mr. Collins with using his seat on the board of a small Australia-based drug company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, to tip off his son and others that the company had failed a critical scientific trial before that information was made public.

His son and others allegedly dumped shares in a frantic rush and averted hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

Independence Party candidate. That party, too, would have to agree and find a way to remove him.

The Democratic candidate in the race, Nate McMurray, the town supervisor of Grand Island, had only $80,000 in his campaign account when the indictment was announced — far less than is typically needed to wage an aggressive challenge.

Mr. McMurray had not been the preferred candidate of Democratic leaders in New York, led by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who had recruited Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul for the seat. She declined and instead ran for re-election.

One Republican said the party hoped to run Stefan Mychajliw, the Erie County comptroller, to replace Mr. Collins, though others are also expected to jockey for the party’s nomination. In a preview of what will most likely be a polarized and partisan race over the next three months, Mr. Mychajliw called Mr. McMurray “radical” three times in a four-paragraph statement.

If Republicans can successfully remove Mr. Collins, whoever they replace him with would have an edge given the district’s conservative tilt. Even after the indictment of Mr. Collins, nonpartisan political handicappers said the seat would be a steep climb for Democrats.

“I respect Chris Collins’s decision to step down while he faces these serious allegations. As I’ve said before, Congress must hold ourselves to the highest possible standard,” Representative Steve Stivers, an Ohio Republican and the chairman of the House Republican campaign committee, said in a statement.

Democrats hope to use the details of the charges against Mr. Collins outlined in the indictment to help paint both the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress with the broad brush of a “culture of corruption.”

In announcing the indictment, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said, “Congressman Collins, who by virtue of his office helps write the laws of our nation, acted as if the law did not apply to him.”

Mr. Collins, who had previously faced an ethics investigation in Congress for his dual role as congressman and investor in Innate, had told investigators that he hoped the drug company, which was testing an experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis, would be a key part of his legacy in life.

“Of all the things I will accomplish in my life,” Mr. Collins told investigators, “this will be number one on my tombstone.”

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