LAKEVIEW - House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will serve as a special guest of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) at an event in Lakeview Wednesday evening, marking a major fundraising coup for the freshman congressman as he prepares for his 2014 re-election campaign.
According to a flyer, a private home will hold the event starting at 5:30 p.m. The reception costs $1,000 to attend, and VIP access costs $2,000.
"He's bringing in the Speaker now, more than a year out," said Bob Davis, the former Republican Chairman in Erie County. "Chris Collins, as the incumbent, will be able to build his political war chest."
Collins, who defeated Kathy Hochul in a narrow race in 2012 to represent the 27th District, also held a fundraising event with Boehner prior to that campaign. At this point, Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner said he has spoken to a few potential candidates about running against Collins and will continue to search for a competitor.
In a heavily Republican district, Zellner admits it will be an "uphill battle" to compete with Collins.
"It's not going to be easy to find a candidate to run against a self-funded millionare," Zellner said. "However, things happen. I don't think Chris Collins' record has been very good this year, and he barely won last time, so I think you'll find candidates out there who are willing to run."
With Boehner coming to Western New York on Wednesday, though, Davis said Collins' significant fundraising efforts could scare off Democratic challengers.
"Chris Collins went up against a formidable opponent last year, and he won," Davis said. "I think the Democrats are going to have some real problems trying to recruit somebody to run."
Zellner sees the Speaker's visit through a different lens.
"If they're coming in now to raise money with the big guns," Zellner said, "then it tells you there's some concern there."