Rep. Chris Collins, the New York Republican charged this week of insider trading with family members holding the stock of an Australian biotech firm on whose board he served, said Saturday he will now suspend his pursuit of reelection in November.
Collins — the first congressional Republican to endorse President Donald Trump’s bid for the White House — had initially said this week that he would remain in the race, and defend the charges he denies, as Republicans fight to hold their edge in the House.
“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 tweeted 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.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission complaint said that in June 2017, Rep. Collins passed on nonpublic information about Innate Immunotherapeutics’ INNMF, -12.00% unexpectedly negative drug-trial results to his son Cameron and the father of his son’s girlfriend, Stephen Zarsky. All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Collins said he plans to fill out the remaining few months of his term to ensure his district maintains its vote in the House.
The three-term congressman is on the ballot in November’s general election against Democrat Nate McMurray. Collins was the clear favorite to win this fall. He beat his last opponent by 34 percentage points in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported. Trump won the upstate district by 25 points.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Collins’s name would still appear on the ballot.