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."