Rep. Chris Collins (R., N.Y.) announced Saturday he would suspend his campaign for re-election following his arrest and indictment on charges related to insider trading.
Collins was charged this week with securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors say Collins passed inside information about an Australian biotech firm, where he's the largest shareholder, to friends and family to help them avoid huge losses. His son Cameron, and the father of his son's fiancee, Stephen Zarsky, were arrested on similar charges.
While Collins initially told constituents he would run for his seat in western New York again, he changed his mind. He called the charges against him "meritless" but said he had decided it was in the best interests of his district, the Republican Party, and President Donald Trump's agenda to not seek re-election. Collins was Trump's first supporter in Congress when he ran for president.
"Democrats are laser focused on taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi Speaker and then launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump," Collins said in a statement. "They would like nothing more than to elect an ‘Impeach Trump' Democrat in this District, which is something that neither our country or my party can afford."
"Afte extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump's agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress."
"I will fill out the remaining few months of my term to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump's agenda to create jobs, eliminate regulations, reduce the size of government, address immigration and lower taxes. I will also continue to fight the meritless charges brought against me and I look forward to having my good name cleared of any wrongdoing."
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) August 11, 2018
Collins has been in Congress since 2013. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is retiring from Congress this year, had already removed Collins from the House Energy and Commerce Committee following the indictment.
While Collins' seat is heavily Republican, the decision of yet another Republican incumbent to not seek re-election slightly improves Democratic odds of winning the seat.