According to Jon Schneider, a spokesman for Congressman Tim Bishop, the Southampton native has taken a narrow lead over his Republican challenger Randy Altschuler, as absentee ballots continue to be counted in the tight race for the First Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Schneider said that at the close of Friday, the fourth day the Suffolk County Board of Elections has spent counting close to 11,000 absentee and affidavit ballots, Bishop leads by a mere 15 votes. Bishop was originally named the unofficial winner of the race on Election Day with an over 3,500 vote lead on Altschuler, but after new electronic voting machines, used for the first time in a general election in Suffolk County, were reread at the board of elections, Altschuler nabbed a 383-vote lead on Bishop.
Schneider added that Altschuler has made a number of challenges on absentee ballots filed in favor of Bishop, 212 more than Bishop has made against voters supporting Altschuler. Schneider said his camp is comfortable many of the objections by Altschuler will not be upheld giving the incumbent a greater lead.
“Tim Bishop has the lead and we are confident he will win this election,” said Schneider. “While we still have a long road ahead, one pattern is clear: the more votes we count, the more votes Tim Bishop gains. Even Randy Altschuler can’t lodge enough frivolous challenges to suppress Bishop’s lead.”
Counting is now complete in East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Smithtown, Southampton, Southold, as well as 41 of 294 election districts from Brookhaven.