The Erie County District Attorney's Office is reviewing a complaint that NY-27 congressional candidate and current state Senator Chris Jacobs committed voter fraud.
A source familiar with the complaint said the allegations surround whether Jacobs registered to vote at his home in Orchard Park before he had officially closed on the house.
“We received a complaint and we are reviewing it," DA spokesperson Kait Munro said.
Jacobs released a statement to Spectrum News Thursday afternoon, saying:
"This is nothing more than a desperate political stunt made by someone who is about to lose an election. My wife and I went under contract to purchase our home in Orchard Park on June 17th of 2019 and closed on our home on September 30 of 2019. Desperate attacks by political opponents are not surprising – sadly they have become a standard part of politics. We are grateful to the thousands of volunteers and supporters who have helped put us in position for a victory on Tuesday and we are looking forward to getting to work for the people of Western New York."
Spectrum News has made a formal Freedom of Information request to the office for the complaint which was first reported by WIVB's Dave Greber. According to a Buffalo News article from last year, Jacobs purchased his home on Stonehenge Road in Orchard Park on October 1, 2019.
Jacob's also posted to Facebook on November 5, 2019 that he was "excited to vote" in Orchard Park. Both the town and village of Orchard Park fall within NY-27 and SD-60.
The candidate previously lived in the city of Buffalo, part of the 26th congressional district. Interestingly enough, however, a congressional candidate is not required to live within a district to run for that office.
District Attorney John Flynn has prosecuted allegations of voter fraud in the past. In 2017, Tea Party activist Rus Thompson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after being charged with five felonies connected to voting in Grand Island when he lived in Niagara Falls.
Jacobs is the Republican candidate for NY-27 in the June 23 special election and also is involved in a three-way GOP primary for the line in November. One of his primary opponents, Beth Parlato, is calling for Jacobs to "do what is right, and remove his name from both the special election and primary ballots."
That would be difficult considering thousands of absentee ballots have already been cast and early voting is underway, as well.
Jacobs’ opponents in both the special election and Republican primary responded to the complaint Thursday.
Republican challenger and current Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said in part:
“Chris Jacobs said Chris Collins would be ineffective due to the criminal investigation hanging over him. With a pending investigation by the Erie County District Attorney into potential criminal misconduct, Chris Jacobs should apply his own standard to himself."
Republican challenger in the primary, Beth Parlato, said in part:
“Chris Lee resigned in disgrace. Chris Collins resigned in disgrace and is heading to prison. Now Chris Jacobs has not even made it to Congress yet, and he is under criminal investigation....We need to bring integrity back to this seat.”
Democrat challenger in the special election Nate McMurray released a statement that says in part:
“After so much corruption here in the 27th, we now have another endorsed Republican candidate who appears to be lying to the voters already... This was no accident. It’s fraud. The people of this district cannot afford another entitled and detached millionaire.”
McMurray is calling for Jacobs to drop out of the race.