Politics and Other Stuff cannot identify how it came to receive a copy of the following email thread. The exchange among Congressman Chris Collins, an office staffer, and a political consultant occurred last week. In the thread the three discuss plans for running Collins’ 2018 re-election campaign.
Collins: Okay guys, I finally got my story straight. I will campaign for re-election and will return to Congress when re-elected. Why would I want to be a councilman in Clarence when I can be a congressman?
Staffer: That’s a relief. If the county chairmen got to pick a new congressman, we’d probably all be out of our jobs.
Consultant: That’s a relief. If you didn’t run for re-election I wouldn’t make all that money on brochure designs, mailings and TV spots.
Collins: Well before you get too excited, my lawyers tell me that my bills will run between two and three million dollars. So the deal with my campaign funds is that you have $100,000 available. The rest of the $1.3 million is going to the lawyers.
Consultant: So how do you expect us to win an election in this atmosphere with just $100,000? That will hardly pay for a few ads and a mailing or two.
Collins: It’s $100,000. Be creative. Anyway, I won the last time by more than 30 points, and Trump won by 24 in the district. How hard can this be?
Consultant: Well, running under a federal indictment does complicate things a bit.
Staffer: The Buffalo News called. They’re asking for your daily campaign schedule.
Collins: Just tell them I’ll be out in the district, talking with constituents.
Staffer: Well, that might not work. And CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN are also sending crews for interviews and to film your activities. They’ll be here next week.
Collins: Tell them I’ll be in Washington, in meetings, all week. So back to the ad campaign. I’m thinking we call McMurray every name in the book. Question his citizenship. Say that he’ll raise taxes and let immigrants in. You know, the full Trump treatment.
Staffer: Not for nothing, but we have been getting calls from farmers who are having trouble getting migrant laborers to do the harvest.
Collins: Don’t worry about that.
Consultant: Should we say anything about how tariffs are good for upstate; that tax cuts made the middle class very rich; that we’ll repeal Obamacare?
Collins: No. Too positive. No time for that. Just totally slime McMurray. Say that he’ll vote for Pelosi. Tell them that he is a Dr. Ford sympathizer.
Staffer: We’ve been getting lots of calls and emails demanding that you speak out against sexual assault.
Collins: A loser’s issue. She’s a liar.
Staffer: Are we saying anything about your indictment?
Collins: I’m innocent. It’s a witch hunt. No collusion. No collusion! Whatever Trump would say.
Staffer: We’ve received calls from Ed Rath, Ray Walter, Rob Ortt, Stefan Mychajliw, Mike Ranzenhofer. They’re all with you 100 percent. But they all asked, just don’t use their names.
Collins: What about Nick Langworthy and the other county chairmen?
Staffer: Well, they do seem put off somewhat by your on-again, off-again, on-again zigzagging. They’ll get over it. So, what’s the plan for actual campaigning?
Consultant: We’ll go stealth. Unmarked cars. Unannounced visits to dairy farms. Stop for lunch at Arby’s and then announce that you met with a gathering of constituents.
Staffer: Well, yeah, actually that would be more than what you usually do. What about debates?
Collins: No way. I’d have to explain how insider trading works. They’d never understand it.
Staffer: And I guess you would need a lawyer to attend the debate to explain why you can’t answer any real questions.
Collins: Maybe we can get one of the Trumps to come in.
Consultant: We already checked. They will only send us Eric.
Consultant: Can we plan for some additional TV at the end?
Collins: Okay, let’s hit up the NRCC for some money.
Consultant: They’re not returning phone calls.
Collins: Some dark money. The folks lurking in the shadows love me.
Consultant: A court ruled last week that their donors have to be revealed. So, that’s out. How about asking Cameron for a donation? You saved him a ton of money.
Collins: He’s not speaking with me since I threw him under the bus when I turned down the plea deal.
Consultant: Any other money?
Collins: Okay, make it $125,000 from my campaign account, but that’s it!
Staffer: The Federal Bureau of Prisons just called.
Collins: Looking for my support for the prison reform package?
Staffer: No. They just needed to know your shirt and pants sizes.