Republican Rep Chris Jacobs of New York has a constituency of conservatives in his suburban district stretching from suburban Buffalo to Chemung County.
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He has represented these conservative citizens in Congress since July 2020 and espoused conservative values.
Jacobs has now become emotional after the Tops shooting since he knew one of the victims.
He said that he had been jolted into action by the Buffalo massacre, Buffalo News reported.
Jacobs knew Katherine “Kat” Massey from his days on the Buffalo Board of Education.
Moreover, he said his conversations with African-American colleagues from those days made him rethink the gun issue.
“They never said anything about gun control,” Jacobs said. “It was more the suffering that they were going through and the sense of fear that someone would do this and could do this – that’s really what hit me.”
Jacobs is now focusing on the weapon used, rather than on the question of murderers and their mindset, and is for gun control.
The New York Times reported that Jacobs, 55, announced his support for a federal ban on assault weapons last week without having first consulted many of his political advisors, according to a person familiar with his decision who was not authorized to discuss it.
But Jacobs’s sudden turnabout on the gun issue, only two years after he won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, struck others as a surprise, Buffalo News stated.
“I disagree with him, and not just what he said, but how he went about it,” said State Sen. George M. Borrello, a Republican from Sunset Bay. “This is a man who actively and aggressively pursued the support of every major gun group in New York State: the 1791 Society, NRA, Gun Owners of America. He talked the talk and, you know, without any kind of warning, he did an about-face.”
Now a rare Republican supporter of banning assault weapons, Rep. Chris Jacobs on Friday withdrew from the race for Congress in a conservative district stretching from – bowing to pressure from party leaders and gun rights activists and unleashing what could be a fervent battle to replace him as the GOP nominee, Buffalo News reports.
In an interview with The Buffalo News, and later at a press conference in Buffalo, Jacobs said his first full term in Congress will be his last.
“This obviously arises out of last Friday, my remarks, statements on being receptive to gun controls,” Jacobs said in the interview. “And since that time, every Republican elected (official) that had endorsed me withdrew their endorsement. Party officials that supported me withdrew, most of them, and those that were going to said they would not. And so, obviously, this was not well received by the Republican base.”
It was so poorly received, in fact, that State Republican Party Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy this week started circulating petitions to potentially run against Jacobs in an Aug. 23 primary. It is a race in which Langworthy would have been seen as the favorite until Friday, when former GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino announced his intention to run – a move that quickly won the backing of the state’s most powerful elected Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik of the North Country, the third-ranking Republican in the House.
Using his current position for turnabout politics, Jacobs said he plans to vote next week for Democrat-backed gun safety legislation, which would ban high-capacity magazines and move the minimum age for buying an assault weapon from 18 to 21.
And, noting that the man accused of murdering 10 people in a Buffalo Tops Markets on May 14 wore body armor, Jacobs is working with two Democrats, including Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, on a bill that would bar civilians from buying such protective equipment, Buffalo News reports.
Some have likened the ban of body armor to the ban of seatbelts or protective helmets. Jacobs is branching out from banning protective weapons to banning the buying or even selling of protective clothing that is no threat to any other person.
Jacob’s term is not over, and damage may still be done with his vote.
Locally, the Republican Party does not yet appear unified over who should replace Jacobs, creating the possibility of a contentious primary in New York’s 23rd district on Aug. 23, Buffalo News reports.
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Nicholas Langworthy, Marc Cenedella, a New York businessman and Fredonia native, Mike Sigler, a Tompkins County legislator, State Senator George Borrello, and Carl Paladino are gearing up to run for Jacob’s seat in the next election.
Congresswoman Elaine Stefanik of New York’s 21st district, was outspoken in her support for Paladino.
“I am proud to announce my endorsement of my friend Carl Paladino in #NY23,” Stefanik tweeted. “Carl is a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America First to save the country.”