CLARENCE, NY - Chris Collins and his supporters may have spent millions of dollars on campaign commercials, but Collins, a Republican who seeks to unseat Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) in the tightly contested race for NY's 27th Congressional District seat, still chose to spend a lot of time traveling the 5,200 square mile district, which includes parts of eight counties.
In fact, after voting this morning at a fire hall in Clarence, he planned to spend part of Election Day continuing to visit the so-called "GLOW" counties, of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming.
He knows he has to energize his base, in order to topple Hochul, who despite being a Democrat in a mostly republican district, has proven to be popular.
"It's always turnout. The people who support you that don't vote don't count, so that's why we've got a great turnout operation, we've had that going for some time, we've made 200,000 phone calls, we've identified our supporters and we're going to get them out," Collins told reporters after casting his ballot.
Though Collins lost his re-election bid for Erie County executive last year, the congressional district only contains the county's eastern and southern suburbs, outside of the city of Buffalo, places where he did quite well in 2011.
"We're going to do well in every county, but we're doing real well in Erie County, and that's very reassuring since they know me best in Erie County, and the fact that we have a nice lead here I think says quite a lot," said Collins.
As one might expect, with an enrollment edge for Republicans, polls show Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney doing well in NY's 27th. However, they also indicate that Collins may not be doing as well here as Romney, and that may well be an area concern for him.
"It comes back to campaigning against an incumbent. We feel very confident going into tonight...we'll see what the final numbers are, but we think Mitt Romney's great showing is certainly going to be very helpful to us," Collins said.
Collins, like his opponent, has run two campaigns in two consecutive years. (Hochul won a Special Congressional Election in the spring of 2011, 6 months before Collins was defeated in his re-election bid for Erie County Executive).
But despite the amount of campaigning he's done, Collins seems none the worse for wear.
"I come home more energized than when I go out because it's the people and their energy knowing this country is at a tipping point. We have to go in a different direction and I have never seen this kind of energy before. This election matters...it matters in my race, it matters in the Romney-Obama race...this election matters more than any we have seen since we elected Abraham Lincoln," Collins said.
Two On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley will be covering the Collins campaign tonight, when it winds up at the Avante in downtown Buffalo where Collins will gather with supporters and other candidates endorsed by the Erie County Republican Party.
Follow Dave on Twitter for updates: @DaveMcKinley2