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Chris Collins, Republican Congressional Candidate, Touts Statistical Tie In Fundraising Email

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Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) is locked in a statistical tie with Republican challenger Chris Collins in western New York.
Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) is locked in a statistical tie with Republican challenger Chris Collins in western New York.

A Republican congressional candidate in western New York is claiming a new poll shows him leading his race while it actually shows he is statistically tied in a newly created district.

The campaign of former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who is challenging Rep. Kathy Hochul (D), sent out a fundraising email Sunday morning touting his lead in a new Buffalo News/WGRZ-TV/Siena College poll hours after the poll was released. The poll shows Collins leading Hochul 47 percent to 45 percent, with 7 percent undecided and a 3.9 percent margin of error in the newly drawn Republican district outside Buffalo.

The email, written by Grant Loomis, Collins's finance director, did not include the poll numbers in the email but did link to the accompanying Buffalo News story.

Loomis wrote:

The good news keeps coming. Chris is leading in a new poll detailed this morning in The Buffalo News.

But this race is far from over and we need your continued help and support.

Despite having the lead, Chris is running like the underdog, taking nothing for granted as he reaches out to voters all across NY-27 with a message of less spending in Washington and more jobs here at home.

The Buffalo News reported that most voters in the district would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress. Siena College poll spokesman Steven Greenberg told the Buffalo News that the race was "wide-open" and said that Hochul could win, citing the 45 percent to 40 percent of respondents who said they preferred reelecting Hochul to electing someone else.

"That's a reflection of the fact that a majority of voters like her," Greenberg told the Buffalo News. "There is no overwhelming sentiment of, 'Oh, my gosh, we've got to get rid of Congresswoman Hochul.'"

The race between Collins and Hochul has become one of the most competitive in the country following a federal court redrawing of New York's congressional districts. Hochul, a former Erie County clerk, defeated Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R), a Collins ally, in a May 2011 special election, largely for her opposition to Paul Ryan's budget plan.

Last week Collins' campaign released a new website attacking Hochul and her husband for their wealth. Collins indicated his net worth is between $25 million and $112 million. Collins made headlines in the spring when he told the Batavian that people do not die from prostate and breast cancer, comments he backed away from when criticized, saying he meant that new cures have been developed.

Hochul has criticized Collins for not releasing his last three tax returns, something she has done. Last week, Collins showed the Buffalo News parts of his tax returns, which indicated he earned $555,882 in 2009 and $927,128 in 2011. Collins said he would not post his returns -- including schedules and attachments -- on his website.

"My federal return is probably 25 pages long," Collins said. "It's too much for the public to absorb."

Collins was defeated in his bid for a second term as county executive last year by Mark Poloncarz, who was the Erie County comptroller at the time. Following his defeat, Collins proposed spending $6 million for new polar bear housing at the Buffalo Zoo, while cutting 308 jobs, mainly from the Department of Social Services.

Collins briefly ran in the 2010 governor's race. Prior to exiting the 2010 race, it was reported that Collins compared state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), an Orthodox Jew, to Hitler and the "anti-Christ," remarks he said he regretted.

Collins has often compared Hochul to President Barack Obama during his campaign.

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