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Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.
Republican Rep. Chris Collins will restart his congressional campaign as he fights federal insider trading charges, the lawmaker said Wednesday.
State Republicans tried to replace the representative on the ballot after he was indicted last month. But on Monday, Collins’ attorney said the Republican would stay on the ballot “because of the protracted and uncertain nature of any legal effort” to replace him.
Collins himself took it further. In a statement Wednesday, the lawmaker said he would start to “actively campaign” after suspending his campaign in August. He also committed to serving another term if he gets re-elected.
“I will fight on two fronts. I will work to ensure the 27th Congressional District remains in Republican hands, while I fight to clear my good name in the courts,” said Collins, who was President Donald Trump’s earliest supporter in Congress.
The representative will face Democratic candidate Nate McMurray in November. Collins’ 27th District seat was seen as safe for Republicans, but prognosticators consider it more competitive with an indicted Collins on the ballot.
Prosecutors allege Collins, while serving on the board of Australian company Innate Immunotherapeutics, tipped his son about a failed drug trail before it was announced. His son then sold off his shares, prosecutors say.
The GOP representative has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In a statement, McMurray said it “looks like the criminal is returning to the scene of the crime,” which he called “ignoring his constituents and their interests for every second of his elected life.”
“Chris, if you’re listening from Manhattan, here are a few words you may remember, ‘lock him up’ ‘drain the swamp,'” McMurray said. “I hear your next court appearance is on October 11. I bet some folks from NY-27 may take a road trip. In the meantime, I welcome you on the campaign trail, sir. Bring it.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment.
— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.