Long Island Political Rivals Square Off For Congressional Seat
Long Island Democrat Tim Bishop is running for a sixth term in Congress but his Republican rival is giving him a tough time for the second election in a row. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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This is not the first time Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop has faced off against Republican challenger Randy Altschuler. Two years ago, Altschuler tried to topple Bishop. He came within 593 votes of doing so.
"It was the closest race in the country," Altschuler said.
Altschuler is now hoping to turn that narrow defeat into a victory in a district that encompasses the eastern end of Long Island.
"I think Congressman Bishop is not effective at what he does," Altschuler said.
At a recent candidates forum, Bishop defended his 10-year record in Congress.
"I have protected jobs in this district," Bishop said. "I have brought the federal government to the table to help solve local problems."
The congressional contest is attracting a good deal of national attention. Outside groups representing Democrats and Republicans are pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race.
Some of the ads being produced highlight two of the biggest attacks of the race. The first is that Altschuler's former company, Office Tiger, outsourced jobs to India. He sold the business in 2006 and co-founded a new company that recycles electronics.
"One of us has created jobs here in America," Altschuler said. "And it's myself."
The second big attack is aimed at Bishop. He helped a wealthy constituent get a fireworks permit. And his campaign contacted the constituent about a contribution.
"I did help out a constituent," Bishop said. "It was not in exchange for anything."
Longtime political observer Lawrence Levy expects the race to be another close one.
"One of the measures of how close a race is and how important major parties consider it is the amount of money that comes in from places that have nothing to do with Long Island," Levy said. "And before this race is done, there will be at least $6 million spent."
Some of that money may be raised by House Speaker John Boehner next week. He will be in the district for a fundraiser with Altschuler.