On Election Day, Republican voters in the 27th District face a Hobson’s choice.
They can pull the lever for Chris Collins, turning a blind eye to the white-collar crimes allegedly committed by our congressman. By doing so, they will be offering their tacit approval to Donald Trump’s misbehavior in the White House.
Or, they can break ranks and cast their vote for challenger Nate McMurray, who, should he win, would end years of Republican complacency in western New York.
Older voters who are on the fence need only ask themselves this question: What would Barber Conable do?
A steadfast Republican, U.S. Rep. Conable represented western New York in Washington for 20 years. A deeply civilized public servant, Conable worked hand-in-hand with Democrats like Pat Moynihan on legislation that benefited our region and the country as a whole. One of his signature achievements was the tax code change that created the 401(k), a measure that allowed many to retire with tidy nest eggs.
A gentleman and a scholar, Conable was voted the most respected member of Congress by his peers in Washington. Yet he always had time for his constituents at home, attending countless Native American ceremonies, marching in veterans parades and mentoring local Eagle Scouts. Barber liked people. His accomplishments, along with his affinity for the little guy, helped turned our region Republican for generations to come.
What has been forgotten, however, was the integrity he displayed during Watergate. Registering his “disgust” with longtime ally Richard Nixon, Conable broke with the White House when a tape surfaced revealing Nixon’s plans to obstruct the FBI investigation of Watergate. Sound familiar?
By contrast, Chris Collins stands by his president despite the scandals and crises that have marred the White House and sabotaged our standing around the world. Like President Trump, Collins now faces charges of using his position to enrich himself.
Democrat McMurray, on the other hand, is a homegrown success story, the kind of youth whom Conable use to mentor. One of seven children raised by his widowed mother, he is the former town supervisor of Grand Island who worked his way through community college and earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Buffalo. People like him.
McMurray has spent the last few months criss-crossing the district, speaking to good-sized crowds in towns from Clarence to Farmington to Hemlock, places so Republican that a Democrat sighting is as rare as a duckbill platypus.
Republicans looking for a decent candidate can vote for him with confidence. After all, this election isn’t a case of right vs. left. It’s right vs. wrong.