11/03/12 2:00pm
11/03/2012 2:00 PM

KATIE COE PHOTO | A power line that fell during the hurricane. Power outages could continue into next week, disrupting some polling places during the election.

Tuesday’s election will likely be disrupted in some areas due to power outages and inaccessible polling places, said representatives of the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Friday.

“We are currently assessing the situation regarding the accessibility of our polling places,” said Election Commissioners Anita Katz and Wayne Rogers in a press release Friday afternoon. “Once we establish which of our polling places are inoperative, we will make arrangements to relocate those election districts, notify voters and accommodate the electorate to the best of our ability.”

The county will be extending absentee voting hours, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. tonight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Board of Elections headquarters on Yaphank Avenue.

No East End locations had been evaluated on the Board of Elections’ most recent list of polling place relocations as of late Friday. Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Times/Review will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Newsday reported Thursday that, of the 700 polling sites in Nassau and Suffolk , only 331 were currently able to receive voting machines.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that our elections will move forward as scheduled,” said the commissioners.

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11/03/10 6:20pm
11/03/2010 6:20 PM


ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO Election night featured a lot of waiting around, and still nobody knows the end result in two key local races.


Local residents who stayed up all night Tuesday to find out who will be their next representative in Congress are still waiting for the final word.
The tight race between Congressman Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler has still not been called, and Mr. Bishop said he’d wait until the absentee ballots were counted to claim victory.
The incumbent Southampton Democrat was leading the St. James businessman by fewer than 3,500 votes in New York’s 1st District race, according to unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections, but they did not include a reported 9,500 absentee ballots.
Mr. Bishop called it the most heated election 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, the Altschuler camp was still holding out hope Wednesday that things would break their way.
“The 1st Congressional District race is too close to call,” said campaign  spokesman Rob Ryan in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Our election lawyer is currently collecting needed information at the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Thousands of absentee ballots are in play and that number is sure to increase over the next few days. We plan to proceed in a judicious fashion until every vote has been actually counted.”
If the results hold up, Mr. Bishop would be the first East End congressman elected to five terms in 40 years — Democrat Otis Pike of Riverhead served 18 years in the House before retiring in 1978.
But Mr. Bishop would be serving in the minority this time around. The GOP was expected to have won at least 60 seats in the House, once all the votes are finalized. It needed 39 to take control.
Mr. Altschuler’s defeat at the hands of Mr. Bishop would be one of the few disappointments suffered by Republicans Tuesday.
And it’s not for a lack of trying. Mr. Bishop’s seat, in a district where registered Republicans outnumber any other party’s registration number, was a major focal point for GOP and Conservative leaders for the past two years.
Mr. Altschuler, who spent $3 million of his own money on the long campaign, tried to capitalize on anti-Democratic sentiment nationwide, calling Mr. Bishop a “rubber stamp” for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership — which took a major hit across the country Tuesday.
Knowing what happened elsewhere around the country, Mr. Bishop was somewhat somber following his apparent victory Tuesday.
“It’s hard to be elated when I know many of my fellow public servants have had a tough night,” he said. “What we need to do is dig in and fight back.”

Other races
The local race for Assembly is also still too close to call, with Republican challenger Dan Losquadro leading incumbent Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham) by just 40 votes. Mr. Losquadro believed he would win the race, despite the close results.
“We’re confident that I will win this because we were aggressive with absentee ballots,” he said Tuesday night.
Mr. Alessi told his supporters it was 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 a certain win Tuesday night. He gave his victory speech in his landslide 30-point trouncing of 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.”
That balance of power in the Senate was also too close to call Wednesday with Democrats claiming they had held on to their majority early Wednesday morning, but several newspapers were calling close races in favor of the GOP. The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Senate could wind up with a 31-31 split. 
Long Island Senators Brian Foley (D-Blue Point) and Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) — who both voted in favor of the controversial MTA payroll tax — appeared to have lost their seats Tuesday, but several other races throughout the state were too close to call.

Samantha Brix and Jennifer Gustavson contributed reporting to this story.
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11/03/10 4:03pm


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.

10/27/10 4:33pm
10/27/2010 4:33 PM


Randy Altschuler


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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10/27/10 3:36pm

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.
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10/27/10 1:49pm


Tim Bishop, Marc Alessi and Ken LaValle


The Suffolk Times gives its picks for next week’s state and federal elections:

Tim Bishop for Congress
He’s a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, which makes every election a tough one for Congressman Tim Bishop of Southampton. But this year may well be his most difficult race yet.
Mr. Bishop hopes to make history of sorts by becoming eastern Suffolk’s first congressman since Otis Pike to serve more than four two-year terms. Mr. Pike, one of Riverhead’s favorite sons, served 18 years before retiring in 1978.
This year Mr. Bishop faces an unusually well-financed opponent in businessman Randy Altschuler, who has spent at least $2 million of his own money on the race. That’s a pittance considering the $100 million New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent to win a third term. But it offers positive proof that Mr. Altschuler, who reportedly wanted to run for Congress in New Jersey before moving to St. James two years ago, is a carpetbagger and political opportunist trying to buy a congressional seat.
One of the first people to reach that conclusion was none other than Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle. “The reality is I’ve never seen a candidate try to run for office with more flaws than Randy Altschuler,” he said earlier this year. “Absent his personal wealth, he wouldn’t even be considered for this seat.”
Mr. Altschuler created Office Tiger, a company that outsources jobs, moving them overseas where wages are cheap. That didn’t sit well with the GOP chairman, who in a pre-primary interview described outsourcing as “a death knell.” He added that Mr. Altschuler “achieved impressively, but it’s been on the backs of the hardworking men and women on Long Island.”
Amen.
Mr. Altschuler is drawing from his personal fortune in the belief that a favorable alignment of the political stars — the perceived anti-incumbent sentiment and Tea Party-type anger at the Obama health care and stimulus packages, both of which Mr. Bishop supported — will secure him a coveted seat in Congress. Mr. Altschuler’s victory certainly wouldn’t come through a record of public service or an understanding of the district, its issues and its people, all glaringly absent from his résumé.
In contrast, Mr. Bishop has been an eager, energetic and successful advocate for the East End. Say what you will about his votes on those two hot-button issues, the record is clear: Tim Bishop is honest, accessible and hardworking, attributes in short in supply in Washington.
It’s a simple choice between self-aggrandizement and proven public service. Tim Bishop has earned another term and we enthusiastically endorse his re-election.

Ken LaValle for State Senate
It’s been a strange two years politically for veteran state Senator Ken LaValle.
He ran unopposed in 2008, but this year he seemed destined to face what might have been the most difficult election of his 34-year career. That fight wasn’t to be, however, as state courts ended Democrat Regina Calcaterra’s promising campaign over a residency glitch. As a result, Mr. LaValle is running against a little-known, underfunded challenger who entered the race just over two months ago.
He’s had a long and distinguished career, but the question at the core of the Calcaterra challenge was simply whether it is time for a change. Not now. Mr. LaValle’s opponent, Jennifer Maertz of Rocky Point, has never held political office and only stepped in to prevent the incumbent from getting another free pass. She’s failed to make the case for turning out an accomplished veteran with significant seniority. We endorse Ken LaValle.

Marc Alessi for State Assembly
We thought the 1st Assembly District fight would have rivaled the local battle for Congress, but Dan Losquadro, a Republican Suffolk County legislator, has run an uninspired campaign against incumbent Democrat Marc Alessi. At times Mr. Losquadro has seemed nonexistent.
Aside from the usual party rhetoric, Mr. Losquadro speaks of Long Islanders’ interests suffering at the hands of a Democratic Party that funnels money and power to New York City. That may be true, but he’s failed to highlight his own accomplishments and how those would translate into his becoming an effective representative in Albany; it’s as if he thinks any warm body would do, as long as that person is in the opposition party.
Mr. Alessi, on the other hand, is highly active and always at the forefront in battles for his constituents. And some of those battles have yielded real results, including helping secure the MTA’s retreat on North Fork service cuts, drawing the FAA’s attention to helicopter noise and finding federal aid for Riverhead flood victims. We need a smart hustler like Mr. Alessi representing us; that’s how our interests get heard.

Andrew Cuomo for Governor
We’ll say this much for Carl Paladino: He’s energetic and entertaining.
But he’s also scary.
His admirable energy would serve him well in Albany, but a governor must inspire and lead, not merely threaten and frighten.
Andrew Cuomo has more than proven himself as an energetic, talented and accomplished leader in his service as secretary of housing and urban development during the Clinton administration and, more recently, as the state’s attorney general.
New York needs strong leadership, not a dictatorial ideologue. New York needs Andrew Cuomo as governor.