His name will be added to the long and growing list of Republican House members retiring or resigning as the judgment of voters in 2020 grows nearer. But New York’s Chris Collins (who has represented an upstate suburban and rural district since 2013) quit effective immediately in conjunction with a planned change to a guilty plea for the insider-trading charges he has faced since being arrested in August 2018. As the Washington Post reports,
Collins, President Trump’s first congressional supporter, allegedly tipped off his son to confidential information about an Australian biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, that he learned as a member of its board. Collins and several others used the information to avoid more than $700,000 in losses, according to prosecutors.
He is scheduled to change his plea Tuesday afternoon in a Manhattan federal court.
Collins initially dropped his reelection bid in 2018 after the arrest but then decided to jump back in and won narrowly. He already had significant primary opposition going into 2020; his 27th District is heavily Republican and is one where Trump (who carried it by 24 points in 2016) did quite a bit better than Romney had in 2012. For that very reason, though, Collins’s resignation is a good, not a bad, thing for the GOP. The Cook Political Report instantly changed its rating of the race in Collins’s district from Lean Republican to Solid Republican. So whatever he did for his future as a man allowed to walk the streets, with our without an ankle monitor, Collins did his party a solid by resigning.
Perhaps it is a coincidence that Trump’s first two congressional supporters in 2016 — Collins and Duncan Hunter — are in serious danger of wearing orange jumpsuits before too long. Let’s just say the president’s own misconduct would seem fine to sketchy dudes like this.