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Altschuler Concedes; Bishop Surprised

The end of the month-long roller coaster for the First Congressional District seat sends the Southampton Democrat back to Washington for a fifth term.

The last contested Congressional race in the country officially came to a close on Wednesday morning when Republican candidate Randy Altschuler conceded .

Altschuler issued a statement Wednesday morning, and called incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, before issuing his concession statement to the press.

"Election Day was what, 38 days ago?" Bishop said on Wednesday morning, claiming he did not expect to receive the concession call. 

"I was surprised," he said. "My understanding was that we were going into court today and begin a ballot-by-ballot challenge of the residency challenges. In fact, both sides will relinquish all of their challenges and we will count all the challenged ballots. I think that's the best outcome in terms of the democratic process - seeing that every legally cast vote is counted."

Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Peter Mayer was expected to return to the Board of Elections in Yaphank on Wednesday after holding court at BOE headquarters last week. Altschuler's attorney, Vincent J. Messina, said he was going to either justify each of Altschuler's roughly 650 residency challenges, or give them up.

"It feels good," Bishop said. "I had a very gracious conversation with Randy Altschuler this morning so I am very pleased it's over and ended out with me coming out on top.

"I wished him very well, even though we went at one another in a very strenuous way in the course of the campaign."

In a statement, Altshculer said,"Although Newsday, The New York Times and the Bishop campaign have all called for a hand recount of all the ballots cast on Election Day, I will not support such an action as I feel its cost will place an unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk County."

According to Altschuler's numbers, the St. James Republican was down 263 votes with approximately 977 ballots remaining to be counted.

Jon Schneider, Bishop's spokesman, had said for weeks that it was only a matter of time until Altschuler "accepted the reality of the numbers. The math speaks for itself."

Altschuler said he will "plan to stay active in politics and speak out on the issues that affect the residents of Suffolk County."

As for Bishop, he'll continue to serve as a Congressman without having to worry if he'll be back for a fifth term.

"It hasn't been easy – no one likes uncertainty in their life," he said. "But I have remained a member of Congress, and we have remained in session, so I have collectively stayed focused on that. It's been good to have things to stay focused on."

durell godfrey December 08, 2010 at 03:24 PM
they should make a movie of this epic process!!!
John K December 08, 2010 at 03:47 PM
Thats what you get. When youd choose a carpetbagger and not a true conservative. When you have a inept Republican and conservative party in NY. They will never win. They need new leadership.
Erica Wells December 08, 2010 at 04:14 PM
I think both parties are incredibly inept in many ways and that we just need a total revival of our constitutional consciousness in general. The government is out of control because the people are out of control.
SMITHTOWNNY December 08, 2010 at 04:42 PM
It was such that we had a stranger from new jersey who irritated his party so much there he moved here and they FOLLOWED HIM with a terrible public letter outlining why he wasn't worthy of office. This person then proceeding to use his own millions and CHENEYPAC money from out of state to bombard our little venue with such hate and animosity. The entire experience was so overwhelmingly negative. ONly to end with 38 days of finding ways to throw out the votes of our neighbors and crying FOUL. Even the 'fair and balanced' news organization devoted so much time and money to make sure their candidate won. And today FINALLY it was their day before the judge to PUT UP OR SHUT UP about why all these votes should be thrown away and they had NOTHING. Nothing. Overwhelmingly negative experience for our community. Overwhelmingly.
maura donahue December 08, 2010 at 04:42 PM
No, not surprised he conceded. It looks like the richest 2% of country are going to get to keep their tax cuts and that's all he cared about anyway.
Linda R December 08, 2010 at 05:33 PM
Rarely do you find a candidate who will consider the cost of a recount in a close race over his own self-interest. That shows us the fine character of Randy Altschuler. Although I and many others are very disappointed, it is good to know that he will stay active in politics and we should look forward to his comments on Suffolk County issues.
John K December 08, 2010 at 07:20 PM
No need for him to stay active, First he says he did not send jobs overseas and we find he does, When I first spoke to his campaign he was pro choice. Then he changed to pro life. He flip flops more then John kerry and John La Valle together.
john ryan December 08, 2010 at 08:10 PM
You can thank the so called Tea party conservatives who openly stated they would vote for Bishop over Altschuler. Well now you have him. Good luck with him. The phonies who claimed they were traditional conservatives showed their true colors..
john ryan December 08, 2010 at 08:14 PM
What happened to Bishops pursuit of every vote being recounted. He dropped that faster than a hot potato as soon as he took a lead. He is just a Nancy Pelosi sycophant and you morons who voted for him have only yourselves to blame for his apathy toward his constituents.
Robert DeMarzo December 08, 2010 at 08:47 PM
All I can say is thanks for the effort Randy. You ran a solid campaign and I wish you had won. Mr. Bishop better focus on cutting taxes, reducing the size of government and living up to very high standards because we voters will tolerate nothing less.
John K December 08, 2010 at 09:06 PM
I think you got that wrong We voted for Randy. Thanks to the inept conservative and Republican party we did not think Randy was the right choice. We backed Demos. John Lavalle was the one who sent out Flyers not to vote him. LAValle not even close to being a Tea partier. Randy Was brought here because he had money and the Republican party did not have to spend theirs on the campaign, Randy could not run in his Native New jersey so They sent him here with his money. Randy is Tim Bishop Light. The only reason it was so close was not for Randy but the circumstances with the current regime. He conceded it was still close WHY?
Rich from the East End December 09, 2010 at 08:35 AM
Nice to see Bishop stucn to his lack or priniple and supported the Dream Act, a worthless political gesture . A somewhat diffeerent posture in a campaign that continually referred to his background from a family that went back 10 generations on the E ast End while denouncing his challenger as a carbetbagger from New Jersey. I imagine immigrants from within these United States are to be villified with xenophobic hate if they seek to exercise their rights as citizens to run for office but those from outside the country can take the jobs of othersciitzens who earn far less than college administrators or congressmen in pursuit of a "Dream". How hypocritical !
Andrew December 10, 2010 at 12:05 AM
re Robert DeMarzo: All I can say is thanks for the electronic vote rigging Randy. You ran a illegal campaign and I wish you had been put in prison. Mr. Bishop better focus on raising taxes on the rich, reducing the size of the Pentagon and living up to very high standards because we voters will tolerate nothing less.

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