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Collins stays in 

Chris Collins has become the unwanted guest Republicans just can't get rid of.

click to enlarge GOP House Rep. Chris Collins - PROVIDED PHOTO
  • GOP House Rep. Chris Collins

The former Erie County executive has been running for his fourth term in Congress. But after he was hit with criminal charges related to allegations of securities fraud and insider trading, party leaders began trying to devise a way to get off the November general election ballot. They met repeatedly and combed through election law, looking for even the smallest loophole.

But Collins has apparently decided to put himself above party. The Buffalo News reported Monday that he's decided he not to remove his name from the ballot. He's acting on "the advice of his criminal attorneys who fear the potential complications of protracted election law challenges almost sure to be initiated by Democrats if he removed his name from the congressional ballot," the News says.

click to enlarge Democratic House candidate Nate McMurray - FILE PHOTO
  • Democratic House candidate Nate McMurray

The News cites four unnamed sources, although it also says an attorney for Collins confirmed that he will stay on the ballot.

Democrat Nate McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor, is also running for the seat. The district includes part of Erie County and the Monroe County towns of Hamlin, Wheatland, Rush, and Mendon.

The district is heavily Republican, and McMurray has been considered the underdog in the race. Collins continues to maintain his innocence, but McMurray may decide it's advantageous to raise the criminal charges. In a statement following Collins' decision to keep running, McMurray said he and voters were talking about issues like health care, infrastructure, and agriculture. But, he said, "we're still always talking about corruption."

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