Updated 06/26/2012 04:03 AM
27th Congressional District primary heats up
Today, Republicans will decide who takes on Kathy Hochul in the race for 27th Congressional District seat this fall. Both candidates said they are confident as election day nears.
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Erie County, N.Y. -- Republican candidates Chris Collins and David Bellavia said they're working hard to remind voters there's an election Tuesday. Primaries usually take place in September, not June.
"We're spending and concentrating our efforts, talking directly to the folks who have a high likelihood of voting," Collins said.
"If a lot of people vote, I believe we're going to win. If a few people come out to vote, it's our message that's going to help us win," Bellavia said.
Both candidates have been covering a wide geographical area. The new 27th Congressional District spans parts of eight counties.
"It's been a lot of time getting out now to other counties, all the way out to Ontario County, Livingston County, Monroe County, where prior it was just Erie County," Collins said.
"The bottom up approach is what's made us successful this time. It's talking to committee members talking to people in towns and really focusing on the individual voter," Bellavia said.
As the election nears, Bellavia said Collins has been dodging debates.
He said he's ready to talk policy and platforms anytime with the former Erie County Executive.
"Every time Mr. Collins talks to voters, anytime he goes out and talks about his positions, that helps me because there's not really a whole lot there," Bellavia said.
Collins said it's the opposite.
Bellavia did refuse one debate he said was unfair because the moderator was a legislator Collins had donated money too.
"We debated once. He dodged the second debate. It is what it is. I've made my presentation and we're comfortable my message has been delivered to the voter," Collins said.
He said he's the Republican candidate who would provide a stark contrast to the incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul.
"What we're running against is Barack Obama. We're at a tipping point in this country. We're making sure people realize Kathy Hochul fully supports Barack Obama's policies of bigger government and Obamacare," Collins said.
But Bellavia said he is a more relatable candidate to the general electorate and would fair better against the well-liked Hochul.
"I'm comfortable in my own skin. I'm comfortable with my message and I think if the voters have the choice between those, we'll be talking on Wednesday morning," he said.
Polls open at 6 in the morning in Erie County and noon in the other seven counties.