Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop handily defeated his Republican opponent Randy Altschuler on Tuesday night to earn a sixth term representing the First Congressional District in the House of Representatives.
Unlike 2010, where Bishop narrowly bested Altschuler in their first race by less than 600 votes, on Tuesday the incumbent Congressman held an 11,000 vote lead over his opponent, who conceded the race around 12:30 a.m. from GOP headquarters in Patchogue.
According to unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE), Bishop earned a total of 132,525 votes — 122,191 on the Democratic Party line and 10,334 on the Working Families line — or 52.17 percent of the vote.
According to the BOE, Altschuler nabbed a total of 121,478 votes — 98,452 on the Republican Party line, 18,501 on the Conservative line and 4,525 on the Independence Party line — or 47.83-percent of the vote.
According to the Board of Elections 254,003 of 444,401 of eligible voters (or 57.16 percent) in the First Congressional District cast a ballot in this race.
“I think this was a very ugly, bruising campaign,” said Bishop on Wednesday morning. “I don’t know if that hurt my opponent or not, but what I do know is when you spend $3.5 million on attack ads and they don’t move the needle, it says people know who I am, know my family, know how hard I work, and know I am effective. You can attack me all you want, but a true record of service will trump that.”
Bishop said going into Tuesday’s election he was “cautiously optimistic” and expected a close race.
By Wednesday, Bishop said he was ready to get right back to work.
“We have to focus on policies that will put people back to work,” he said. “It will require the federal government to invest in infrastructure, education and innovation.”
Bishop pointed to Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College as job creating institutions in the First Congressional District that can continue to evolve and expand.
In terms of infrastructure, Bishop said from an economic, and environmental, perspective, he would like to see the federal government help his district deal with shoreline protection, the creation of sewage treatment facilities and even the introduction of light rail services.
But on Wednesday, Bishop was focused on more immediate concerns — the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and the impact of a second nor’easter on Long Island, which literally ravaged areas further west and on the East End left many without power, cable and even gas.
On Wednesday, Altschuler’s campaign manager, East Hampton resident Diana Weir, said the campaign was not happy with the outcome, but was also moving on.
“We were very disappointed, obviously, but everyone is moving forward and we wish Bishop well and hope for the best,” she said. “It was a difficult campaign, it always is, and Randy was a great candidate.”
Like Bishop, Democrats turned out in force to support incumbent President Barack Obama, who was re-elected to a second term Tuesday night.
In Suffolk County, President Obama and his running mate Joe Biden earned a total of 274,830 votes, or 50.83 percent of the ballots cast. Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan earned 259,348 of the vote or 47.97 percent of ballots cast in the county, with Libertarian, Green, Constitution and Socialism & Liberation candidates picking up a few thousand votes amongst each other.
Turnout was higher for the Presidential race than for the Congressional election. According to the BOE, 59.93 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in Suffolk County.
Early in the evening on Tuesday, Democrat Kirtsen Gillibrand won her first elected term as a U.S. Senator, defeating Wendy Long by capturing 63.33 percent of the vote.
In the lone contested state race, New York State Senator, Republican Ken LaValle defeated Democrat and Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming.
LaValle captured 69,238 votes or 60.31 percent of ballots cast, with Fleming earning 45,568 votes.
However, while Fleming conceded to LaValle on Tuesday night, in election districts in Sag Harbor, North Haven, Noyac and Northwest Woods in East Hampton Fleming bested LaValle and she split Bridgehampton and Sagaponack election districts with the veteran senator.
“To the tens of thousands of Long Islanders who voted for me, I am deeply honored to have your support,” said Fleming in a statement issued on Wednesday. “You have shown that a campaign based on ideas and hard work can compete with even the most well-funded, established opponent.”
“It’s all about keeping people’s trust,” said LaValle of his victory in a phone conversation on Wednesday. “At the end of a two year period you get a report card, and I have always gotten good marks from people because I have kept their trust, I am optimistic and I work hard.”
New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. also won re-election Tuesday night. He was running unopposed.