This is some Bush League politics if true.
A supporter of Rep. Chris Collins helped a registered Republican run on the Green Party ticket to split the Dem vote https://t.co/Et3erzFt2K
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) April 30, 2018
A Green Party candidate running for Congress in New York’s 27th District appears to have official ties to people who worked on the campaign of Rep. Chris Collins who now represents that district.
A local Republican, Ross Kostecky, with ties to Rep. Collins is listed as Green Party candidate Michael Zak’s official point of contact.
Michael Zak petitioned to run under the Green Party ticket in New York’s 27th congressional district, a seat currently held by Rep. Chris Collins. Zak’s candidacy petition listed as the official contact person Ross Kostecky, a local Republican operative who interned on Collins’s 2009 campaign for Erie County, New York executive, The Daily Beast has found.
“Of course I know Ross Kostecky. I’ve known him for years. He’s a good Republican,” said Chris Grant, Collins’s campaign director. “As to why he did this, you’d have to ask him. Our campaign has absolutely nothing to do with [Michael Zak]. We don’t know this person.”
You would expect even someone dumb enough to try a stunt like that to maintain plausible deniability for the Congressman but it sure looks fishy.
Grant, a longtime Collins aide who served as the lawmaker’s chief of staff until late 2015, was adamant that he, Collins, nor the campaign had anything to do with Zak’s candidacy.“I can’t decide what’s more upsetting, the bias you have coming into this or the sheer lack of work you did before picking up the phone. Have you talked to Ross? Have you called him? Have you done that work? No? OK,” Grant told The Daily Beast last week.
Kostecky did not respond to calls to his home or office at the Erie County Legislature, where he works as a clerk. Zak rescinded his candidacy on April 16 after news of his connection to Kostecky prompted local reporters to show up at his doorstep.
The media bias card seems like the obvious play for someone doing damage control but what alternate explanation could there be? Is “good Republican” Kostecky making a buck running the campaign for a legitimate Green Party candidate? It’s possible he’s just a mercenary like so many others in politics. It’s probably not likely though.
Erie County Green Party officers and members are greatly disturbed by the actions of local Republican operatives acting on behalf of Congressman Chris Collins to place a fake candidate on the Green Party line in the 27th congressional district. These operatives misled Green Party members into signing a petition for a candidate who does not represent the Green Party.
The candidate in question has been identified as a supporter of right wing causes who only recently registered as a Green for the sole purpose of stealing the line. He does not represent in any way our party’s four pillars: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy and Non-Violence.
If you are registered w/ Green Party #NY27, please read read this. Looks like Chris Collins' team has come up with & collected sigs for a "green party" candidate, to try and split Dem/liberal/progressive vote. Don't fall for it. Please read @Nate_McMurray's Facebook link, below. https://t.co/QBfnkiK4xP
— J Francisco (@JRHFrancisco) April 14, 2018
Of course in the age of Trump overnight conversions aren’t exactly unheard of. You don’t have to look very far to find people who once condemned Trump as a con man and buffoon but who now support him unconditionally. But a jump from conservatism to the progressive whackjob-ism of the Green Party would require an astronomically larger integrity deficit though.
Rep. Collins doesn’t exactly have a squeaky clean reputation. He has been under investigation for proposing legislation that would specifically benefit companies he partially owns. He has since left the board of the Australian biotech firm due to the controversy.
Is the fake Green Party candidate a sign Collins is in danger of losing to a Democrat. Adding a Green would certainly only siphon votes from the Democrat side. If this is the way Republicans want to play the game, they deserve to lose.