Long Island Elections: Candidates Share Optimism As Polls Close

Rep. Tim Bishop, the incumbent Democrat from the East End (L), is locked in a tight race with Randy Altschuler (R). Their first debate took place at the First Baptist Church in Riverhead in September, where the tone was civil compared to the rancor of their television ads. (Dan O’Regan/Long Island Press)

Amid the disarray and destruction left behind in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the candidates of Long Island’s two hottest and perhaps most-watched local political footraces expressed optimism hours before the polls closed on Election Night 2012.

Republican New York State Assemblyman Phil Boyle’s campaign headquarters in Babylon Village was inundated with knee-high flood waters that hosted guppies swimming among campaign literature when his team arrived there last Tuesday, Oct. 30, his campaign manager Chris DeLuca told the Press on Election Day.


Though it never lost power as so many other Long Islanders did, its computers and phones were knocked out and it took a while to pump all the water out. Up to 25,000 possibly evacuated from the state Senate district south of Montauk Highway, he said, yet despite the minimal effect all this had on the candidate’s ground game, Team Boyle remained positive.

“The turnout’s been very good,” said DeLuca. “The polls are very busy. The polls in Lindenhurst, which got hit the hardest, are just being rocked.”

Bob Martinez, aid to Boyle’s opponent for state Senate, Suffolk County Democratic Legis. Rick Montano, said their team was feeling very good about its campaign, too—explaining that volunteers had worked extremely hard in the district and going door-to-door to get out the vote and ensure residents knew the candidate’s message.

They’re looking forward to a victory, he said, just a few hours before polls closed on what has been a heated campaign battle between the two sides. Whoever wins could decide the majority in the state Senate, which is currently held by the GOP. They’re both vying for the seat left vacant by state Sen. Owen Johnson, who’s retiring after 40 years of public service.

Republican Randy Altschuler, who’s been waging an equally hard-fought campaign to unseat U.S. Congressional incumbent Democrat Timothy Bishop—and who still doesn’t have power at his St. James home, according to campaign spokeswoman Diana Weir—was also positive going into the big count.

“The turnout has been very good for us,” she told the Press, as about two dozen volunteers prepared to feast on cold cuts sandwiches as they made last-minute campaign calls to prospective voters Tuesday afternoon.

Bishop’s spokesman Robert Pierce said the Congressman did his normal Election Day routine Tuesday: casting his ballot in Southampton, then hitting the batting cages.

“We’re pleasantly surprised by what we’re hearing,” he said. “The turnout’s been good.”

Team Bishop’s volunteers spent the last several hours of the re-election campaign knocking door-to-door, he added.

“We’re going to knock on an insane number of doors tonight,” he said.

The Bishop-Altschuler race, depending on other contests throughout the country, could also contribute to a possible majority switch.

Of all four campaigns, the only person the Press spoke with who wasn’t very optimistic before the polls closed was one of Boyle’s volunteers—but it had nothing to do with her candidate’s chances of winning.

She complained that she couldn’t make the Suffolk County Republicans’ Election Night gala at The Emporium in Patchogue since she didn’t have enough gas to get back and forth.

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