Political Notebook: Suffolk GOP backs Altschuler, Maertz has eye on Senate

02/07/2012 12:39 PM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Randy Altschuler was all smiles when he won the GOP primary for New York's FIrst Congressional District in 2010.

Suffolk County Republicans announced Tuesday that they’ll support Randy Altschuler this November in his second attempt to unseat Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).

The announcement follows committee screenings with Mr. Altschuler and fellow First District hopeful George Demos, according to Suffolk County Republican Committee Chairman John Jay LaValle.

“Randy Altschuler is a self-made businessman who came from humble beginnings to achieve the American Dream for him and his family,” Mr. LaValle said in a press release. “Over the last few years, I have come to know Randy as a man of principal and integrity. He has the real world experience we need in Washington to get us out of the current economic mess that has so deeply affected Long Island, its small businesses and the hardworking taxpayers who call Suffolk County home.”

It’s a different tune than the one sung by Mr. LaValle two years ago, when he initially supported Chris Cox in a primary with Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Demos. Mr. Cox, the son of state Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox and the grandson of former president Richard Nixon, finished a distant third in the primary.

“The reality is I’ve never seen a candidate try to run for office with more flaws than Randy Altschuler,” Mr. LaValle said in 2010. “Absent his personal wealth, he wouldn’t even be considered for this seat.”

Mr. Altschuler, a 41-year-old from St. James, created Office Tiger, a company that outsources jobs, moving them overseas where wages are cheap. That didn’t sit well at the time 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.”

But in his announcement Tuesday, Mr. LaValle said  “support among party leaders across the district was overwhelming” in support of Mr. Altschuler, who lost to an incumbent Mr. Bishop by just 593 votesin 2010.

Campaign financial disclosure reports for Mr. Altschuler, who poured $3 million into his own campaign in 2010, already show more than $420,000 in cash on hand.

The formal nomination will occur at a yet-to-be-scheduled convention of the Suffolk GOP Committee. A formal date will not be announced until after state redistricting is finalized.

Mr. Demos vowed Tuesday to wage another primary against Mr. Altschuler.

Mr. Demos also took a shot at party leaders in a release sent to the media, in which he called the nominating process “disgraceful.”

“Outsourcer Randy Altschuler has played the inside game of money and power,” he said.

Maertz also wants to give it another try

JENNIFER MAERTZ

It might just be the year of the rematch.

Jennifer Maertz, who replaced Regina Calcaterra after she was knocked from the Democratic ticket in 2010, is once again looking to run against 35-year incumbent Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson).

Ms. Maertz, a Rocky Point resident, said she’s running for the “families of Long Island.”

“I will never abandon the effort to win fairness for Long Island families,” she said in a press release. “I will never abandon the fight for civil rights and equal pay for all New Yorkers and the work to reform our government and make it effective, honest and responsive.”

Although she’s the first to formally announce her candidacy, Ms. Maertz, 36, could be a bit of a longshot considering her resignation from a committee post in her hometown Democratic Party last year. She resigned after the Brookhaven Democratic Committee announced it would back a former Republican Councilwoman for re-election to one of seven Town Board seats.

Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee chairman Marc Alessi said Tuesday it was premature for him to comment on Ms. Maertz’s decision to run, but he did say he’s looking forward to meeting all of the candidates as the nomination process unfolds.

“Ken LaValle is a very popular incumbent,” Mr. Alessi said. “He’ll be very hard to beat unless we come up with the right candidate.”

Ms. Maertz secured just 34 percent of the vote in 2010, although she was only a candidate for the final two months of the campaign. Previously she worked on the campaign of Ms. Calcaterra, who was stripped of her candidacy due to residency restrictions.

With reporting from Jennifer Gustavson.

gparpan@timesreview.com

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