New York|Republicans Retain House Seat in Special Election in Western N.Y.
Chris Jacobs, a Republican state senator, won a special House election on Tuesday in Western New York, maintaining his party’s hold on a seat last occupied by Chris Collins, who resigned just before pleading guilty to federal insider trading charges.
Mr. Jacobs, 53, had banked his campaign on the popularity of President Trump, who endorsed him; Mr. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., had also recorded a robocall for Mr. Jacobs, the former Erie County clerk.
That proved more than enough to dispatch Nate McMurray, the Democratic candidate, who was waging his second battle for the 27th. Mr. McMurray, a lawyer and former Fulbright scholar, had narrowly lost in 2018 against Mr. Collins, an early endorser of Mr. Trump. The Associated Press called the race at 12:39 a.m. on Wednesday.
Mr. McMurray had been considered a long shot in the district, a largely rural and suburban collection of towns between Buffalo and Rochester where Mr. Trump had won easily in 2016, and where there are 40,000 more Republican voters than Democrats.
Mr. Jacobs won despite misgivings among some Republicans that he was too moderate for the district. Since winning the Republican nomination in January, Mr. Jacobs had cast himself as a close adherent to the president’s policies, promising secure borders, strong Second Amendment protections and an end to sanctuary cities.
Mr. McMurray, 45, had minimal help from establishment Democrats: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had little involvement in Mr. McMurray’s bid until late in the campaign, paying for a mailing and a digital ad.
Nor did any of the state’s A-list Democrats spend any political capital on the race, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, who did not endorse Mr. McMurray. The Cook Political Report listed the 27th District as “solid Republican.”
Like political cycles nationwide, the campaign had been upended by the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed nearly 1,000 people in the eight counties that make up parts of the district. In late March, Mr. Cuomo moved the election to June 23 from April 28, lengthening the campaign by two months.
A scion of a prominent Buffalo family, Mr. Jacobs had raised more than $1 million and lent his own campaign almost $450,000.
As winner of the special election, Mr. Jacobs will serve for the remainder of Mr. Collins’s term, which ends this year, though Mr. McMurray, a former town supervisor in Grand Island, N.Y., northwest of Buffalo, has vowed to fight on: In November, when the seat is contested again for a full two-year term, Mr. McMurray will have the Democratic ballot line.
In an electoral oddity, Mr. Jacobs, a second-term state senator, also faced a primary challenge on Tuesday from two Republicans, Beth Parlato and Stefan Mychajliw Jr.; Mr. Jacobs also won that primary, assuring him a spot on the Republican line.