With roughly 45 percent of the Republican vote and around 60 percent of the Conservative vote, first congressional district candidate Randy Altschuler has secured his place in the race against incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop in the November general elections.
The result of Tuesday’s primary, held on September 15, ended a bitter and expensive three-way contest between Altschuler, George Demos, a former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, and Chris Cox, grandson of former President Richard Nixon. Demos won 30.7 percent of Republican voter support, with Cox trailing behind with 24.1 percent.
A Fulbright Scholar and Harvard Business School graduate, Altschuler is best known for co-founding Office Tiger, a company which provides office support, which was sold in 2006 for $250 million. The 39-year-old congressional hopeful currently lives in St. James with his wife and young son.
On the campaign trail, Altschuler drummed up his business background and broad theories on how to reinvigorate the economy.
“I am a proud fiscal conservative committed to free market principles,” Altschuler noted on his campaign website. “My top priority is to promote proven pro-growth and low tax policies for the First Congressional District and our nation.”
Altschuler has previously pointed out that his experience in creating over 4,000 jobs with his company Office Tiger, uniquely prepares him to create jobs within the congressional district, which extends from Smithtown to Montauk with a reported population of 654,360.
Above: Randy Altschuler, winner of the republican congressional primary.
Demos, 33, a Fordham Law school graduate originally from Shelter Island but currently a Brookhaven resident, often criticized Altschuler for outsourcing positions from the United States to other nations like India, which was the subject of a 2006 documentary film titled “Office Tigers.”
During the campaign, Demos pointed out that Altschuler was a former Green Party member and alleged that his rival candidate was in favor of abortion rights. On his website, Altschuler asserts he is “pro-family and pro-life.”
Early on in the Republican and Conservative race, the deep pockets of Altschuler and Cox deterred other hopefuls like Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman from pursuing Bishop’s seat as an Independent candidate in the upcoming general election.
“I would have to raise so much money to prevail,” Schneiderman remarked in July.
With a total of $2.889 million, campaign contribution documentation shows Altschuler contributed about $2 million to his campaign, or roughly 70 percent of his total available funds, and raised around $800,000 in individual donations. Chris Cox subsidized about $1 million of his campaign and raised $512,082 in individual contributions, for a total campaign fund of $1.541 million. Conversely, Demos financed most of his $511,146 campaign through individual gifts.
Despite Cox’s pedigreed political family connections — his father Ed Cox is the New York State GOP chairman — early on Altschuler won the Conservative line. After Cox challenged Altschuler’s nomination in state supreme court, armed with a petition signed by 850 voters, an appellate court in early September sided with Cox in a decision which allowed write-in candidates on the Conservative line. The verdict allowed residents to submit votes for Cox or Demos, as well as others. Of the 2,223 Conservative votes, there were 895 write-in ballots, which accounted for roughly 40 percent of the vote.
In Altschuler’s victory speech on Tuesday evening, he opined, “The voters chose me because I am one of them … I’m not a professional politician. I’m the guy next door; a businessman and a father and a husband. I am an outsider … who frankly, never thought I’d be standing here tonight.”
“Voters throughout this county and across this state have had enough of the big spending, high taxing, deficit growing, professional politicians who are destroying our nations fiscal well being and loading debt upon debt on the backs of future generations,” Altschuler continued. “Simply put, Tim Bishop, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats have failed us and so now we are coming to take our government back … Tim Bishop has a lot of explaining to do. Tim Bishop needs to explain why he’s voted for more and more wasteful spending and the higher taxes, ballooning deficit and bloated bureaucracy that go with it.”
Congressman Tim Bishop, born in Southampton and a Long Island University graduate, was first elected to Congress in 2002. Currently, Bishop sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee.
In an emailed statement on Altschuler’s win, Bishop said, “I congratulate Randy Altschuler on his win and I look forward to debating the issues with him. But the voters of this district will see the stark contrast between us. For eight years, I have fought hard for Long Island because I grew up here and raised a family here. Randy only moved to this district after unsuccessfully seeking office in New Jersey. I didn’t choose to live in this community because I care about running for Congress. I ran for Congress because I care about this community.”