Staff Sgt. David Bellavia announced Sunday that he will not run for the 27th Congressional District Seat.
"My service to our great community and country is unwavering, but I have a new responsibility to the U.S. Army. The Medal of Honor recognition is providing me with an incredible opportunity to serve at a level not thought possible just a few months ago," he said in a release. "I am traveling the country, as an ambassador for Western New York, educating and influencing future soldiers and fellow citizens, as well as training and advising military leadership."
Bellavia added, "Acting upon my long-standing and sincere desire to run for Congress at this time would require me to set aside pre-existing commitments I have made to my Army, my family, and those with whom I do business. I have carefully considered the needs and advice of party leadership and those closest to me and I am extremely thankful and forever humbled by the overwhelming support from Western New York."
He finished his statement with, "Go Bills! Go Sabres!"
Led by Republican strategist Michael Caputo, who advised President Donald Trump's campaign, an effort had been underway for months to recruit Bellavia to run for the seat. The Iraq war hero ran for Congress in 2012 and lost to former Rep. Chris Collins in the Republican primary.
Collins resigned late last month, a day before pleading guilty in an insider trading case
Before Collins' resignation, three Republicans had launched campaigns since the spring while others had said they were waiting to see whether Collins would seek another term. The declared Republicans are attorney and former judge Beth Parlato, state Sen. Christopher Jacobs, a former New York secretary of state and Erie County clerk, and state Sen. Robert Ortt, a veteran and former North Tonawanda mayor.
For the Democrats, Nate McMurray, whom Collins narrowly defeated in 2018, already had committed to a rematch.
Earlier this month at an event in Niagara Falls, Bellavia launched a new non-profit organization called Deuce Deuce Relief Fund Inc. The fund benefits soldiers from David's prior Task Force in Iraq (Task Force 2-2), supporting soldiers and their families who are experiencing hardship or require other assistance.
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