Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) announced on Saturday that he is suspending his reelection campaign because of the charges against him of insider trading.
“After 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,” Collins said in a press release.
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) August 11, 2018
He added he will continue serving the rest of his term and “fight the meritless charges brought against me.”
The Justice Department charged Collins, 68, with securities fraud and lying to the FBI about his efforts to tip off family members with nonpublic stock information to help them avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment losses.
Collins, who was also the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president in 2016, made the announcement Saturday after initially pledging to run for re-election on Wednesday.
“I will mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name,” the representative said. “I look forward to being fully vindicated and exonerated.”
But he faced growing pressure to resign from the Buffalo-area congressional seat he’s held since 2013. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) removed Collins from his position on the Energy and Commerce Committee and called for the Ethics Committee to investigate.
While GOP leadership did not publicly call for Collins to step down, sources said there was a “behind-the-scenes” effort in both Washington and New York to convince the congressman that resignation was the best thing for the party three months before the crucial midterm elections.
It is not clear what Republicans’ next steps will be in Collins’ district. Although he will suspend his campaign, he already won the GOP primary in his district and will likely remain on the ballot.