“This election is about whether we want a Tea Party Congress that ends Medicare to give more tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, or whether we want people like Tim Bishop who are fighting for the middle class and seniors,” says Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The choice couldn’t be clearer, and we will do everything we can to help Tim win.”
Israel insists that the House is in play, telling Roll Call that “it is in range.”
Poppycock, scoffs Nat Sillin, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. He notes that the NRCC has reserved $540,000 in TV ad time for the First Congressional District and says that “by our math” more than $1.5 million will be spent on Altschuler’s behalf before the race is through.
“We view this as one of the greatest pickup opportunities for Republicans in the Northeast,” Sillin tells the Press. “Randy Altschuler is running a very strong campaign.” A key difference is having Altschuler on the Independence Party line.
“Frankly it shows Randy’s independence,” Sillin says. “It demonstrates his ability to appeal to folks from all political persuasions.”
“Randy is a very impressive individual,” says Frank MacKay, state and national chairman of the Independence Party. “He’s the epitome of independence. He’s a self-made man who’s had success in the private sector, and these are the types of people who bring fresh ideas into government.”
Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, no fan of Altschuler’s to begin with, says: “I think the more people get to know him, the less they’ll vote for him.” And Jacobs believes that, compared to the majority running the House of Representatives now: “Long Islanders tend to be more moderate. What the Republicans want to do, that’s not Long Island.”
He contends that Obama is going to win big in New York and that will help Bishop because “Romney suffers from a disconnect with voters here on Long Island and that may make them less enthusiastic…and somewhat depress turnout.”
“I think Randy’s running a great race,” says Suffolk GOP chairman LaValle, who thinks the Republican challenger will be helped by having Romney at the top of the ticket.
“I believe Romney’s going to win Suffolk County,” says LaValle. “I think it’s going to be by a couple of points, a 52-48 type of win. Four years ago McCain lost to Obama 52-48.”
Cox, state GOP chairman, who lives in the Hamptons, agrees.
“I think Romney will run strong in Suffolk County,” he says. As for the Empire State being in Obama’s column, he says emphatically: “I’m not willing to concede New York yet!”
Although that result is certainly debatable, the chairman adds: “There’s no doubt that we will have a majority in the House of Representatives.” Indeed, he says, it’s “the largest majority we’ve had since the 1920s.”
Interestingly, the 112th Congress, which only has a few months left before it fades into history’s dustbin, has also been regarded as the one of the worst in decades, garnering only a 10 percent popularity rating in a recent Gallup poll.
Congress’ dismal record came up at the debate in the First Baptist Church of Riverhead.
“There used to be a bipartisan consensus on how to handle a really big issue that has no easy answers,” Bishop told the audience. “As the membership of the House of Representatives has moved much further to the extreme right, that bipartisan consensus has broken down. So if you’re looking for a fault, it is not someone like me who has been trying to work across the aisle to solve problems as opposed to someone who wants to dig in and let existing problems remain. We have to find common ground.”
Altschuler pledged he’d do the same.
“As a businessman, I’ve never asked anybody what party they’re in,” he said. “I only ask them how we can work together.”
Voters will get to decide who they want working for them on Election Day.