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Field is getting crowded for 2020 Congressional race

There might be two familiar faces dueling across the 27th Congressional District next year, with Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray saying he will take a run for the heavily-Republican and conservative congressional seat.

Incumbent Rep. Chris Collins, who defeated McMurray in 2018, is positioning himself for another run despite his federal indictment on insider trading charges. Republicans Chris Jacobs and Beth Parlato are in the race and others may soon join the fray.

McMurray was quick to step into one of the core issues in the 27th District: gun rights. 

McMurray says he is a gun owner who wants gun controls because things are out of control, citing a tweet of his a week ago after the mass shooting in El Paso.

"I literally tweeted: I will not be surprised if by the time I wake up, there's another mass shooting and sadly I was right," McMurray said. "Now, it's not because I'm so prescient, it's because this is so common."

In announcing his candidacy over the weekend, McMurray offered his thoughts on other sensitive issues, including climate change.

"There's going to be a time of reckoning, soon enough, where if we don't take this seriously, it's going to have a huge impact, not only on our way of life but on our financial resources," he said.

McMurray also attacked Collins for aligning with President Trump's stance on immigration. He says it does not address the the 27th District and its reliance on agriculture.

"I talk to these farmers," McMurray said. "They aren't asking for illegal immigration. They're asking for a migrant labor program, one they've asked for for generations."

Collins says he is willing to consider some limitations on guns, citing red flag laws which would take weapons away from someone who is potentially a threat to himself or others. The Clarence Republican says that has to be on a state level because he is opposed to a one size-fits-all approach of federal legislation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.