The Riverhead News-Review gives its picks for next week’s state and federal elections:
Tim Bishop for Congress
He’s a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, which makes every election a tough one for Congressman Tim Bishop of Southampton. But this year may well be his most difficult race yet.
Mr. Bishop hopes to make history of sorts by becoming eastern Suffolk’s first congressman since Otis Pike to serve more than four two-year terms. Mr. Pike, one of Riverhead’s favorite sons, served 18 years before retiring in 1978.
This year Mr. Bishop faces an unusually well-financed opponent in businessman Randy Altschuler, who has spent at least $2 million of his own money on the race. That’s a pittance considering the $100 million New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent to win a third term. But it offers positive proof that Mr. Altschuler, who reportedly wanted to run for Congress in New Jersey before moving to St. James two years ago, is a carpetbagger and political opportunist trying to buy a congressional seat.
One of the first people to reach that conclusion was none other than Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle. “The reality is I’ve never seen a candidate try to run for office with more flaws than Randy Altschuler,” he said earlier this year. “Absent his personal wealth, he wouldn’t even be considered for this seat.”
Mr. Altschuler created Office Tiger, a company that outsources jobs, moving them overseas where wages are cheap. That didn’t sit well with the GOP chairman, who in a pre-primary interview described outsourcing as “a death knell.” He added that Mr. Altschuler “achieved impressively, but it’s been on the backs of the hardworking men and women on Long Island.”
Mr. Altschuler is drawing from his personal fortune in the belief that a favorable alignment of the political stars — the perceived anti-incumbent sentiment and Tea Party-type anger at the Obama health care and stimulus packages, both of which Mr. Bishop supported — will secure him a coveted seat in Congress. Mr. Altschuler’s victory certainly wouldn’t come through a record of public service or an understanding of the district, its issues and its people, all glaringly absent from his résumé.
In contrast, Mr. Bishop has been an eager, energetic and successful advocate for the East End. Say what you will about his votes on those two hot-button issues, the record is clear: Tim Bishop is honest, accessible and hardworking, attributes in short in supply in Washington.
It’s a simple choice between self-aggrandizement and proven public service. Tim Bishop has earned another term and we enthusiastically endorse his re-election.
Ken LaValle for State Senate
It’s been a strange two years politically for veteran state Senator Ken LaValle.
He ran unopposed in 2008, but this year he seemed destined to face what might have been the most difficult election of his 34-year career. That fight wasn’t to be, however, as state courts ended Democrat Regina Calcaterra’s promising campaign over a residency glitch. As a result, Mr. LaValle is running against a little-known, underfunded challenger who entered the race just over two months ago.
He’s had a long and distinguished career, but the question at the core of the Calcaterra challenge was simply whether it is time for a change. Not now. Mr. LaValle’s opponent, Jennifer Maertz of Rocky Point, has never held political office and only stepped in to prevent the incumbent from getting another free pass. She’s failed to make the case for turning out an accomplished veteran with significant seniority. We endorse Ken LaValle.
Marc Alessi for State Assembly
We thought the 1st Assembly District fight would have rivaled the local battle for Congress, but Dan Losquadro, a Republican Suffolk County legislator, has run an uninspired campaign against incumbent Democrat Marc Alessi. At times Mr. Losquadro has seemed nonexistent.
Aside from the usual party rhetoric, Mr. Losquadro speaks of Long Islanders’ interests suffering at the hands of a Democratic Party that funnels money and power to New York City. That may be true, but he’s failed to highlight his own accomplishments and how those would translate into his becoming an effective representative in Albany; it’s as if he thinks any warm body would do, as long as that person is in the opposition party.
Mr. Alessi, on the other hand, is highly active and always at the forefront in battles for his constituents. And some of those battles have yielded real results, including helping secure the MTA’s retreat on North Fork service cuts, drawing the FAA’s attention to helicopter noise and finding federal aid for Riverhead flood victims. We need a smart hustler like Mr. Alessi representing us; that’s how our interests get heard.
Andrew Cuomo for Governor
We’ll say this much for Carl Paladino: He’s energetic and entertaining.
But he’s also scary.
His admirable energy would serve him well in Albany, but a governor must inspire and lead, not merely threaten and frighten.
Andrew Cuomo has more than proven himself as an energetic, talented and accomplished leader in his service as secretary of housing and urban development during the Clinton administration and, more recently, as the state’s attorney general.
New York needs strong leadership, not a dictatorial ideologue. New York needs Andrew Cuomo as governor.