The Slatest

Rep. Chris Collins, Facing Charges of Securities Fraud, Re-Elected in New York

Collins speaks before a podium. Behind him, his wife looks on.
U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, with wife Mary at his side, holds a news conference in response to his arrest for insider trading on Aug. 8 in Buffalo, New York.
John Normile/Getty Images

Rep. Chris Collins, an early Trump supporter who is fighting an indictment over charges of securities fraud, appeared to win re-election in his Buffalo, New York, area district.

Nate McMurray, a relatively low-profile and poorly funded candidate whom Collins had attacked in a racist ad this fall, conceded the election. McMurray later demanded a recount.

In the controversial ad during the campaign, McMurray, whose wife is originally from South Korea, is seen speaking Korean, in a video the candidate made before the summer’s North Korea summit. In the captions written by Collins’ campaign, the ad suggests McMurray wants “fewer jobs for us” and “more jobs for China and Korea.” At one point, a photo of Kim Jong-un appears in the background.

In August, Collins was arrested in connection to his role on the board of a small Australian biotech firm called Innate Immunotherapeutics. According to federal prosecutors, Collins let his son know about a failed test for a new drug, allowing Cameron and his father-in-law to avoid $750,000 in losses by selling the company’s stock before it dropped. Collins was charged with securities fraud, conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements. Previously, the Daily Beast had also reported that Collins had drafted or sponsored several bills that would have directly affected Innate Immunotherapeutics.

Collins has maintained that he is innocent of the charges, but he initially said he would withdraw from the race. He later changed his mind, citing the difficulty of removing his name from the ballot—a valid concern, as the New York Times reported that doing so would have likely led to a lawsuit from the Democrats. Still, it seemed likely even then he would win re-election, as the district is one of New York’s most conservative.

Collins was the first of two early Trump backers to be charged with federal crimes, as California Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is also up for re-election, was indicted two weeks later.