GOP incumbent changes mind, pulls out

Christopher Collins was defiant one day. Then he thought better of his defiance.

He has made the correct call.

As the New York Times reported: “I respect Chris Collins’s decision to step down while he faces these serious allegations,” Representative Steve Stivers, an Ohio Republican and the chairman of the House Republican campaign committee, said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, Congress must hold ourselves to the highest possible standard.”

Collins is a New York Republican House member who is facing charges of engaging in insider — and illegal — trading of stocks. He has represented a reliably Republican district.

He also is notable for another reason: He was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump’s presidential candidacy. He became one of the president’s few go-to guys in the House of Representatives.

What now? Well, I normally wouldn’t care about the future of a New York congressman who said on the day of his indictment that he would seek re-election, only to announce today that he is ending his campaign; the technical term is “suspending,” but it’s over, folks.

This is a big deal for those of us who want to see Democrats take control of at least one congressional chamber. There needs to be some check on the reckless, feckless behavior coming from the White House. Collins’s departure in one sense might help allow the election of a Democrat in that upper New York House seat.

Democrats’ magic number for retaking the House stands at 23, meaning they need to flip 23 seats to get a majority. It looks do-able.

As for Collins’s indictment and the allegations leveled against, it flies in the face of Donald Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp” that gives Washington, D.C., its putrid aroma.

See ya, Rep. Collins.

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