Dec 3rd - 2:44 pm
Conservative Republicans haven’t yet given up hope of ousting Rep. Tim Bishop from his seat in NY-1, even though the veteran Democratic Long Islander just weathered his second tough challenge in two years.
The challenger in question, businessman Randy Altschuler, did not perform as well against Bishop in this past election as he did back in 2010 – even though (or perhaps because?) he had to fight his way through a three-way GOP primary before turning his attention to his true, general election target.
In 2010, Altschuler did not concede to Bishop until Dec. 8, and he ended up losing by 593 votes. Prior to the November election, he handily defeated his two primary challengers – Christopher Nixon Cox (son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox) and George Demos.
In this year’s election, Altschuler was expected to do better because he had local GOP and Conservative chairs united behind him. He also had the Independence Party line, which had delivered some 7,000 votes to Bishop in 2010. Yet on election night, Bishop won a clear victory, beating Altschuler by more than 11,000 votes.
There have been rumblings of a third attempt by the self-funding businessman at taking out Bishop in 2014. His name recognition is arguably high, following two back-to-back congressional campaigns. Plus, he won’t have the additional challenge of higer-than-usual Democratic turnout caused by the presidential race.
But the conservative Patriot for Freedom PAC wants to nip any thought Altschuler has of running again in the bud, and commissioned a poll to demonstrate that he’s not a viable contender for 2014.
“Had Altschuler won Republican votes with the same majority that Bishop won Democrat votes, the election would have swung by over 7 percentage points in favor of Altschuler,” the poll memo states. “Altschuler’s failure to win Republican votes likely cost him the election.”
“…Randy Altschuler remains unelectable. He has no electoral future in New York’s First District. His record of outsourcing remains the dominant issue to voters across thepolitical spectrum. He cannot win a significant majority of Republican votes, and hasalmost no crossover appeal.This poll proves an Altschuler-Bishop matchup in 2014 would have the same result.”
Aug 15th - 9:19 am
Congressman Tim Bishop has released two TV ads attacking his Republican challenger Randy Altschuler over outsourcing.
The ads are named “Business Is” and “Fortune” and both use quotes from Altschuler from his time at OfficeTiger, a company he co-founded back in 1999 that specialized in outsourcing certain services primarily to India.
“Every night when Randy Altschuler goes to sleep, he knows that if his investments do well, middle class families will be paying the price,” Bishop said in the press release. “We need jobs on Long Island, not in India or other low wage countries.”
The two ads are similar, with Altschuler appearing in the “Fortune” ad to tout a bill he authored in Congress that would prevent companies that outsource jobs from getting government help. The bill did not pass the House.
This race is a rematch from 2010, when Bishop won by only 593 votes. Amazingly, it has stayed relatively unchanged by redistricting because of the geographic boundaries and the growing population in Suffolk County. 97% of the current district is made up of residents of Bishop’s old district, so it is likely this will be a close race once again, which is why the NRCC has made it a top priority for this election cycle.
The ads come as Politico is reporting that Bishop may be facing an ethics probe because his campaign solicited donations from a couple who needed the Congressman’s help to get clearance for a fireworks display for their sons bar mitzvah. Bishop claims the contributions were given after he helped his constituents, but the couple suggests that they felt they had to donate the money to get the clearance.
Jul 31st - 12:39 pm
I detect something of a trend here…
On the heels of the results of a poll conducted for an released by Rep. Chris Gibson’s campaign this morning that shows the freshman Republican leading his Democratic challenger comes another poll from another GOP congressional candidate that claims he’s far ahead of his Democratic target.
This time, the candidate in question is Republican businessman Randy Altschuler, who is making his second attempt at unseating Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1. The poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, found Altschuler leading Bishop 47-43, with 4 percent of voters saying they would prefer “some other candidate” and 6 percent unsure.
This survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted in a single day – July 29 – and has a 3 percent margin of error with a 95 percent level of confidence.
NOTE: Although the GOP does have an enrollment edge in the district, (130,411 to 155,713, as of April of this year, according to the state Board of Elections), President Obama easily defeated Sen. John McCain in 2008 in Suffolk County by about 52-47. The large lead this poll shows Mitt Romney enjoying in the dsitrict over Obama does strain credulity just a tad.
Altschuler, who came within several hundred votes of defeating Bishop in 2010, included the poll memo (again, absent any crosstabs) in a fund-raising appeal emailed to supporters shortly afternoon in which he pronounced “career politician Tim Bishop” to be “in big trouble.”
“If we are going to change Congress, we need to defeat career politicians like Tim Bishop who have created the economic and fiscal problems we’re now facing, while putting their own self-interests over the interests of the people they are supposed to represent,” Altschuler wrote.
UPDATE: DCCC spokesman Josh Scherwin sent over the following comment:
“It looks like Randy Altschuler either made up numbers or just surveyed people who he helped get jobs in India. This poll isn’t remotely based in reality. On a side note, even in Altschuler’s alternate universe Bishop’s approval is at 50.”
UPDATE2: Bishop’s campaign notes Pulse Opinion Research, a subsidiary of Rasmussen, didn’t have much of an accuracy track record in 2010 and, according to the NYT’s Nate Silver, exhibited a “considerable bias toward Republican candidates.”
Altschuler’s campaign filings reveal he has paid McLaughlin & Associates $53,740 for polling since July 2011 – including $$16,751 for one conducted in April of this year. The campaign hasn’t released any of those poll results to date.
Jun 5th - 3:32 pm
Republican NY-1 candidate Randy Altschuler is out with a reponse to a video released yesterday by his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Bishop, assailing his job-creation record.
“I won’t be lectured on jobs and the economy by a career bureaucrat turned Washington politician whose policies have destroyed more than 30,000 jobs on Long Island since he took office,” Alschuler said in a press release.
“Tim Bishop is a rubber stamp for Barack Obama, and helped push us into the current economic mess by voting for trillions of dollars in higher taxes, wasteful spending and runaway debt as a Member of Congress. This election is a referendum on Bishop’s failed record and I refuse to let him distract voters from it with the same dishonest campaign he ran in 2010.”
“…If the people of Suffolk County want to change Congress, it starts with changing Congressmen. Tim Bishop has been in Washington for nearly ten years and the results have been disastrous. It’s time for a new direction.”
Altschuler, who came close to ousting Bishop in 2010, likened the congressman’s criticism to recent attacks by the Obama campaign on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital – an effort condemned by fellow Democrats like New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker.
The Long Island businessman said Nassau and Suffolk counties have lost 30,000 jobs since Bishop took office, and accused him of only going into attack mode because he has no viable plan to bring them back.
Altschuler also released a letter from his Port Jefferson landlord to Bishop, refuting the congressman’s claim that the office for Altschuler’s firm, CloudBlue, “doesn’t exist.”
According to the landlord, Charles Alter, that claim is “100% factually inaccurate.”
May 25th - 4:13 pm
One month before the June 26 Republican Congressional primary against his rival Randy Altschuler, George Demos says he’s calling it quits to focus on his pending marriage.
In an email sent to supporters this afternoon, the former Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor hints that he will re-enter the political sphere in “the near future.”
Everyone who knows me knows of my deep commitment to public service and to being a strong voice for the Conservative cause. Equally, everyone who knows Chrysa and me, knows of our deep commitment to each other and the joy we are sharing in preparation for our wedding a week from now.
These two facts have now come together. Both my impending marriage and my race for Congress are deeply important to me. But our marriage comes first.
Therefore, today, I am going to set aside my political aspirations for a while so that I can focus on our family. Both Chrysa and I look forward to reentering the political debate in the near future and to fighting for the Conservative Republican values we share.
This is obviously good news for Altschuler who gotten into a bitter tit for tat with Demos over his loss in 2010 against five-term incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop in the NY-1.
Demos claimed at one point Altschuler was trying to lock up the nomination through a series of “shady backroom deals” while Altschuler was quick to point out how soundly he defeated him in the 2010 primary.
It’s also good news for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, who once again see Bishop’s Long Island House seat as a serious opportunity for a pick up this year.
Update: Altschuler released a statement later in the day, noting that he and Demos “competed fiercely at times” for the nomination, they share the commonality of wanting to retire Bishop.
“My wife Cheryl and I wish George and his bride-to-be, Chrysa, much happiness in their future together,” said Altschuler. “While George and I have competed fiercely at times for the Republican nomination, both in 2010 and this year, we share a common goal – and that is defeating Obama rubberstamp, incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop, and bringing an end to his job-killing agenda that has badly hurt the people of Suffolk County.”
Jan 5th - 12:48 pm
Former Gov. George Pataki has joined the growing group of GOP leaders backing Randy Altschuler’s second attempt at unseating Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1 this fall, saying the Long Island businessman “has the kind of experience and common sense we so desperately need in Washington today.”
“In Congress, Randy will rein in spending, hold the line on taxes allowing the private sector to create jobs and get America back on track,” Pataki said in a statement distributed by Altschuler’s campaign. “I proudly and strongly endorse him for Congress in New York’s 1st District.”
This endorsement is a blow to Altschuler’s GOP primary opponent, George Demos, who has numerous ties to Pataki – not the least of which is the fact that two of the ex-governor’s political advisors, Rob Cole and Arthur Finkelstein, are running Demos’ campaign.
Demos stole Altschuler’s thunder, however, by responding to the Pataki endorsement long before it was officially announced (on Dec. 29, to be exact), effectively ending any hope Altschuler might have had of a big rollout.
Still, there’s no question that institutional support is far greater for Altschuler in this race, which is a significant difference from 2010, when the Conservative and GOP leaders in NY-1 were split over what was then a three-way primary between Demos, Altschuler and Christopher Nixon Cox, son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox. Altschuler won the September election and came close – but not close enough – to ousting Bishop in November.
Altschuler called Pataki’s endorsement “tremendously important,” adding:
Governor Pataki’s endorsement speaks volumes about the continued momentum and strength that my campaign has demonstrated since I announced my intention to seek a rematch with Congressman Bishop last spring. I am fortunate to have the Governor on board with my campaign and know I can lean on him for advice and counsel.”
Altschuler now has the backing of Pataki, Ed Cox, state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, Suffolk County GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle and Suffolk County Conservative Chairman Ed Walsh.
Dec 29th - 7:12 pm
Former Gov. George Pataki appears to have turned his back on a former campaign aide – not to mention two key members of his own political team – by backing Long Island businessman Randy Altschuler’s second attempt to unseat Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in the 2012 1st Congressional District race.
Oddly, I don’t have a formal statement from Pataki announcing his support for Altschuler. What I do have is a tersely worded one-line release from the campaign manager of Altschuler’s GOP primary opponent, George Demos.
“It’s sad and unfortunate that former Governor Pataki is unaware that Randy Altschuler outsourced more American jobs to India than were created in New York state in the last ten years,” said Kevin Tschirhart.
(Veteran Pataki watchers might get a bit of a laugh out of the wording of that statement. “Sad and unfortunate” were vintage Pataki administration responses to anything political and/or negative about the then-governor said by a critic or opponent; I can’t count the number of times I wrote “sad and unfortunate” while covering that administration for the TU).
Pataki spokesman Dave Catalfamo said the former governor had indeed planned to endorse Altschuler, but he declined to comment further until a formal statement from Pataki is released.
Demos worked on Pataki’s 1998 re-election campaign – the one in which Pataki cruised to victory against his Democratic opponent, former NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone, after coming from pretty much nowhere (the back bench of the state Senate) to oust liberal icon Mario Cuomo from the governor’s office four years earlier.
Working on Demos’ campaign are two members of Pataki’s erstwhile political brain trust: Rob Cole and Arthur Finkelstein.
The fact that Pataki chose to go against Demos is far less surprising than his decision to buck Cole and Finkelstein, two people who played long-standing roles in his political career. (Cole actually started working for Pataki as an intern during the former governor’s Assembly days in the early 1990s).
This is the second time Demos has battled Altschuler for the GOP line. He finished second to Altschuler in a three-way GOP primary last fall. (The third candidate, Christopher Nixon Cox, son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, finished third).
Altschuler came close to defeating Bishop, who is still viewed as vulnerable by Republicans. To that end, Republican and Conservative leaders in Suffolk County who were divided over the NY-1 race last fall have now united behind Altschuler in hopes of maximizing their chances of defeating the incumbent Democratic congressman.
To that end, I guess it’s understandable that Pataki picked sides so early in the game and choose to go against his own camp. Then again, he’s not exactly a major everyday player in GOP politics here in New York these days, and could have waited to see what happened in the primary.
That’s what he did in 2010, endorsing Altschuler in October – in other words, after he won in September and became the party’s standard bearer.
Dec 15th - 3:59 pm
A reader forwarded a rather stunning story in today’s Smithtown News, a Long Island weekly, that alleges the powerful boss of Suffolk County’s Conservative party, Ed Walsh, lied about his criminal record when he applied for his current job as a corrections officer.
Documents from Walsh’s personnel file, including details of a background check conducted in 1990 by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office, were disseminated by retired state prosecutor Lawrence Gray, the paper reports. (The story isn’t on-line, but it appears in full after the jump).
They reveal Walsh was convicted of sexual assault while attending the University of Maryland in the 1980s and also arrested in Nassau County in 1989 for criminal mischief in the third degree – a charge that was later dropped to disorderly conduct, to which the chairman pleaded guilty.
Based on these incidents, about which Walsh was not forthcoming with his would-be employers, and the fact that he was allegedly rejected from a job with the NYPD due to “drug-related irregularities,” the lieutenant conducting the background check determined Walsh was not eligible to be a corrections officer, yet he has held that title for more than two decades now.
Walsh dismissed the allegations about his past as a “cut-and-paste job” and “a lot of garbage,” adding: “It’s not like I snuck in here 22 years ago.” The chairman said he would be pursuing a libel case against Gray, and also suggested Gray broke the law by obtaining and disseminating his personnel file.
Here’s where things really get tangled.
The Smithtown News story notes that Walsh’s paperwork has been “circulated among political insiders for the past year,” and quotes an anonymous source who says the documents were obtained by an investigator working for supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis.
I spoke with Catsimatidis briefly this afternoon, and he told me that was not, in fact, the case. But he also acknowledged there’s no love lost between himself and Walsh, and he admitted that he has a copy of the paperwork Gray has been sending out, insisting he received them “anonymously” during the NY-1 race.
Dec 1st - 9:43 am
George Demos, who’s mounting his second attempt at unseating Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in Long Island’s NY-1, slammed the congressman this morning for his support of a bill to lift the five-year ban on funding horse meat inspections.
Demos has a habit of sending out politically provocative press releases in hopes of grabbing some attention for his second congressional bid – a necessity, as he is not the favored candidate of the Suffolk County GOP and Conservative leaders.
(They’re united this year behind Randy Altschuler, a businessman who won the 2010 GOP primary and then came close to defeating Bishop in the general election).
And he does not disappoint this time around, managing to lump the stimulus plan, President Obama, and the need to support Long Island fisheries all in the same release.
“After the failed Obama-Bishop stimulus plan that created no ‘shovel ready’ jobs, Tim Bishop voted to create ‘slaughter ready’ jobs by voting to authorize the killing of majestic creatures and feeding them to Americans as if we are some third world country,” Demos said.
“It’s bad enough to outsource American jobs to third world countries without in-sourcing foreign diets to American dinner plates.”
“Tim Bishop should instead be promoting the consumption of healthy fish that are available off of Long Island’s coastline. But sadly he has done nothing to remedy the injustices of the Magnuson Stevens Act regulationsthat permit fisherman from other states to harvest more fish from Long Island waters than our own fishermen from Greenport and Montauk.”
Demos accused Bishop of “flip-flopping” on this issue, noting he sponsored HR 503 back in 2006 – a bill that would have prohibited horse slaughter for human consumption.
“Apparently, Bishop is no longer concerned with the majesty of horses who have served man for centuries both in war and in peace,” Demos concluded.
“Instead of ‘Let them eat cake,’ our governing class in Washington now declares ‘Let them eat horse’ once again demonstrating why after ten years in Washington, it is time for Tim Bishop to be put out to pasture.”
For the record, there are currently no slaughterhouses in the US established solely for the killing of horses with the intention of using the meat for human consumption. (The last one in Illinois closed in 2007).
But advocates say they could be quickly constructed and open for business – perhaps in as little as 30 to 90 days. If that were to happen, PETA and other animal-rights groups would no doubt go berserk.
Slaughter supporters have argued that the ban inadvertently led to the mistreatment and abandonment of horses. According to the AP, they’re moving to quickly establish a slaughterhouse – perhaps in Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska or Missouri – and estimate as many as 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered for human consumption.
Most of the meat would be shipped overseas, where horse meat is regularly consumed and even considered a delicacy, including in France and Japan.
Nov 21st - 10:55 am
An internal polling memo from the
re-election campaign Suffolk County Democratic Committee of Rep. Tim Bishop paints an upbeat picture of the political landscape, pointing to the victory of Democrat Steve Bellone this month as a sign that the “Republican wave” of 2010 has ground to halt.
Bishop’s district is entirely within Suffolk County.
With Steve Bellone’s victory in the campaign for Suffolk County Executive along with other key victories for Democrats across the County, it is clear that the Republican “wave” that made 2010 competitive for Randy Altschuler has now ended. The political environment next year will no doubt be better for Congressman Bishop than it was in 2010 and he is well positioned to take advantage.
Bellone defeated Republican Angie Carpenter by a wide margin. He benefitted, in part, from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appearances on the campaign trail on his behalf.
The memo also notes that while Bishop and Altschuler have “near-identical” unfavorable ratings, more voters like Bishoper over Randy Altschuler the Republican challenger who lost last year and is gearing up for another run.
In that same poll, Randy Altschuler’s favorable rating (31%) was only slightly higher than his unfavorable rating (27%). In other words, Bishop and Altshculer have near-identical unfavorable ratings, but Bishop’s favorable rating is 37 points higher.
Bishop won last year in a squeaker, 51 percent to 49 percent.
The race became noticed statewide after State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox was allegedly trying to dissuade Republicans from entering the race in order to pave the way for his son, Christopher Cox. The chairman has denied any involvement in the race.