Bishop a likely winner, but no concession

11/03/2010 4:03 PM |

Tim Bishop and Randy Altschuler

Local residents who stayed up until the early hours Wednesday morning to find out who will be their next representative in Congress will have to wait at least a few more hours for an official announcement.
The tight race between Congressman Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler will not be called earlier than late Wednesday morning, as Mr. Bishop said he’ll wait until the absentee ballots are counted to declare victory.
The incumbent Southampton Democrat leads the St. James businessman by fewer than 3,500 votes in New York’s 1st District race.
He called Tuesday the most heated Election Night of his political career “by far.”
“My first campaign was when I went to unseat an incumbent and to win that by a narrow margin is one thing,” Mr. Bishop said of  his two-point win over Felix Grucci in 2002. “But to be an incumbent and hang on by this kind of margin shows you how tightly contested the race was.”
It was so tightly contested, Mr. Altschuler declined to concede Tuesday night.
“I think we have to wait,” he told News 12 Long Island. “It’s very close right now. It’s going to be a long night. I am so overwhelmed by the dedication, I’ve got the best group of volunteers you can think of … I owe them a victory.”
The local race for Assembly was also too close to call with Republican challenger Dan Losquadro leading incumbent Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham) by just 40 votes. Mr. Losquadro still believes he will win the race, despite the close results.
“We’re confident that I will win this because we were aggressive with absentee ballots,” he said.
Mr. Alessi told his supporters it’s still way too close to call.
“The election isn’t over,” he said. “It’s just beginning.”
Longtime Senator Ken LaValle was the only local candidate able to claim victory Tuesday night. He gave his victory speech in his landslide win over Democratic challenger Jennifer Maertz of Rocky Point three hours before the final votes were even tallied.
“It always feels great to win,” Mr. LaValle said. “But it’s all about getting to the number 32. Winning the majority is critically important to my district, Long Island and the state.”
But that did not happen.
Senator Brian Foley (D-Blue Point) lost his seat in the Senate Tuesday to Republican challenger Lee Zeldin of Shirley, but Democratic challengers throughout the state picked up three races to maintain a majority.
Samantha Brix and Jennifer Gustavson contributed reporting to this story.