It’s a battle between an eight-year Democratic incumbent and a newcomer carrying the Republican endorsement to represent eastern Long Island in Congress.
In a year when neither Democrats nor incumbents are expected to have a cakewalk, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) was targeted early on by national GOP leaders, who have poured money into the already well-endowed campaign of 39-year-old challenger Randy Altschuler. Mr. Bishop, like Democrats around the country, is charging that a lot of the money flowing to Republican and Tea Party candidates comes from foreign sources and is being contributed illegally.
The campaign has centered as much on the candidates’ backgrounds as on the issues.
Mr. Bishop, 60, a lifelong Southampton resident, came to Congress after serving in the administration of Southampton College for 29 years, many of them as provost. He started at the school as an admissions counselor and retired in 2002.
Mr. Altschuler grew up in New York City and moved to St. James in 2007. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was co-founder and CEO of CloudBlue, an electronics recycling company, and OfficeTiger, an outsourcing company.
While he is executive chairman of CloudBlue, he has suspended any active involvement with the company during the campaign, his spokesman Rob Ryan said.
Mr. Bishop has charged him with outsourcing jobs to other countries and boasting about its benefits. Mr. Altschuler answers that he has created more than 700 jobs for Americans.
Mr. Altschuler claims Mr. Bishop has voted in lockstep with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and criticizes him for supporting the Democrats’ health care bill and taking stands on economic issues that Mr. Altschuler says will slow the recovery.
He favors lowering taxes and reduced spending. He pledges to lower corporate taxes; support a southern border fence to improve security; repeal the health care bill; issue tax credits to students attending non-public and charter schools; support domestic energy production, including oil drilling, coal mining and natural gas extraction; and invest in creating alternative energy sources.
Mr. Ryan said Mr. Altschuler not only favors retaining the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, but would favor cutting taxes further to give small businesses and individuals more money to invest.
“In tight economic conditions, you can’t raise taxes,” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Altschuler is pro-life on the abortion issue.
Mr. Bishop says his priorities include focusing on job creation; protecting middle-class families and seniors; controlling spending; strengthening education; and continuing to provide benefits to veterans. He supports legislation to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil by creating alternative energy jobs. He has pledged to work to secure the United States from terrorism; to safeguard the environment; and to work toward getting Long Island its fair share of federal aid.
Mr. Bishop favors elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax; and supports expanding the Child Tax Credit and raising the maximum income limit for the 10 percent tax bracket to increase the number of people eligible to pay the lowest percentage of their personal income in federal taxes. He has promoted legislation to protect Long Island Sound and Long Island shorelines and beaches. He is pro-choice on the abortion issue and opposed the war in Iraq.
This post was originally published Oct. 26, 2010