Election 2010: Who exactly are we voting for?

The slugfest between congressional candidates Tim Bishop and Randy Altschuler is making the most noise on the East End, but that race is just one part of the crowded ballot voters will face when they head to the polls in next week’s elections.
The names of the men running in the often emotional campaign to be New York’s next governor are found on the ballot’s left-hand side. To the right are the uncontested races for county clerk and county comptroller and the choice of who will represent local interests in the state Senate and Assembly when the Legislature reconvenes in Albany next year.
In between are the choices for both of New York’s federal Senate seats, state comptroller and attorney general and state Supreme Court, County Court and Family Court judgeships.
This is also the inaugural election for Suffolk County’s new electronic ballot, which replaces the time-honored mechanical voting booth. (Visit our website for a link to an informational video on how the new system works.)
But by far, the 1st Congressional District race has generated the most local interest.
Republican Randy Altschuler of Smithtown, who won the nomination in a bruising three-way primary, stands between Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop and a fifth term in the House of Representatives.
The race has centered largely on jobs. Mr. Altschuler claims that the incumbent, who previously worked as provost of Southampton College, has no experience in creating employment. Mr. Bishop argues that his GOP rival built his fortune as a pioneer in outsourcing jobs overseas, to India and other countries.
The challenger also blasts Mr. Bishop for supporting the Obama administration’s sweeping health care reform and stimulus packages, both of which he claims will only add to the nation’s crushing debt.
The incumbent has called the health care bill a workable compromise and still a work in progress. He claims to be an effective and open-minded representative of the people of eastern Suffolk County.
The 1st Congressional District covers northeastern Smithtown, most of Brookhaven and the five East End towns.
Earlier this year the region’s state Senate race also promised to be quite spirited when Democrats nominated New Suffolk resident Regina Calcaterra, an energetic corporate lawyer, to take on veteran GOP incumbent Kenneth LaValle, who ran unopposed two years ago.
But Ms. Calcaterra’s candidacy came to an end in August when a state court ruled that she had not lived in New York for the requisite five consecutive years before running. Jennifer Maertz, a Rocky Point attorney who worked on Ms. Calcaterra’s campaign staff, stepped in to fill the void.
In the 1st Assembly District contest, GOP county Legislator Dan Losquadro, also of Rocky Point, seeks to unseat Democrat Marc Alessi of Shoreham. Mr. Alessi has served in the Assembly since winning a special election in September 2005.
The gubernatorial race between Democratic state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, a Tea Party favorite, tops the ticket.
They’re fighting for the seat now held by Governor David Paterson, who decided not to seek his own term. The former lieutenant governor stepped up to the state’s top elected post when former Governor Elliot Spitzer resigned after being named in a sex scandal.
It’s a crowded ballot, with Mr. Cuomo and running mate Robert Duffy appearing on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families lines. Mr. Paladino and lieutenant governor hopeful Gregory Edwards are on the Republican, Conservative and the combined Anti-Prohibition, Tax Revolt and Taxpayers lines.
The Libertarian and Green parties, plus a group known as Rent is 2 Damn High, have also fielded gubernatorial candidates.
Incumbent Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a former assemblyman who was appointed in 2007, is running against Republican Harry Wilson. In the race to replace Mr. Cuomo as attorney general, Democrat Eric Schneiderman faces Republican Dan Donovan.
In the judicial races, eight candidates are seeking four state Supreme Court judgeships, each a 14-year term.
The County Court elections offer four candidates for three available seats. Republican incumbent James Hudson of Southold is running on the Democratic, GOP, Independence and Conservative Party lines. Three candidates are on the ballot for two Family Court judgeships.
Rounding out the ballot, county Treasurer Judith Pascale and county Comptroller Joseph Sawicki of Southold are both running unopposed.
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