Categorized | Suffolk Close-up

CD 1 Redux

Posted on 29 July 2011

By Karl Grossman

It’s new for Suffolk County to be the setting for lavishly financed campaigns for Congress. Indeed, Otis G. Pike, with the longest tenure of a representative from Suffolk in Congress in modern times, made a point of having only the simplest campaign material.

He wanted to demonstrate he was thrifty and frugal figuring that would appeal to voters here. And despite Suffolk having a far more Republican electorate between 1960 and 1978, the Riverhead Democrat won over and over again. The New Yorker magazine even published a piece documenting Mr. Pike’s parsimonious political strategy.

But a year ago, Suffolk witnessed a new approach in a Congressional run here — one which is about to be repeated.

Enter Randy Altschuler and Christopher Nixon Cox.

Mr. Altschuler made a fortune setting up and running a business that outsources jobs notably to India. The multi-millionaire came here from New Jersey to take on the Democratic incumbent in the lst C.D. He was advised by GOP strategists that the incumbent where he lived in New Jersey, Rush Holt, was not vulnerable and Mr. Bishop was.

Meanwhile, also with his eye on the lst C.D. seat was Mr. Cox. The bid for Congress of the 31-year-old grandson of ex-President Richard Nixon was even more audacious than that of Mr. Atschuler. A business consultant from Manhattan, he had to switch his residence to his family’s compound in Westhampton Beach to be eligible to run. His biggest booster: Edward Finch Cox, his father, who just happened to have become the new New York State Republican chairman. He wanted his son to follow in the family’s political footsteps. His mother: Nixon’s oldest daughter, Tricia.

Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Cox began a primary battle costing each well over $1 million.

Disrupting the duel — interfering with the slick political TV commercials both deluged Suffolk with as well as their planting of a forest of campaign signs — was George Demos. A former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney from Manhattan and Shelter Island —  he emphasized he registered to vote at 18 on Shelter Island and always voted there — Mr. Demos also sought the GOP nomination. He hit hard at Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Cox. 

“One guy is trying to buy the race, one guy thinks he was born into it, and I’m trying to earn it,” declared Mr. Demos. He charged “Altschuler came here literally shopping for a Congressional seat. Jobs are the number one issue in this election. It defies logic to run a guy who made his money outsourcing jobs to India,” and “Cox only registered to vote in Suffolk last year listing his parent’s home in Westhampton Beach as his residence.”

Although his campaign cost a fraction of those of Messrs. Altschuler and Cox, it resonated with many GOPers. Mr. Demos bested Mr. Cox in the GOP primary. Mr. Altschuler won — but at a cost. Even the Suffolk GOP chairman, John Jay LaValle, who had backed Mr. Altschuler, got extremely concerned about his political vulnerability on the outsourcing issue and switched his support to Mr. Cox.

In the general election, Mr. Bishop, long-time provost of Southampton College and a Southampton Village resident, focused heavily on Mr. Altschuler’s involvement in outsourcing. Despite the political tsunami last year that resulted in many Democratic Congressional incumbents losing, he hung on — by the narrowest margin (539 votes) in any contest for the House of Representatives in 2010.

Now Mr. Altschuler, of St. James, is preparing to take on Mr. Bishop again.

“I am eager to contrast my record as a successful entrepreneur and small businessman who knows how to create jobs versus Congressman Bishop’s record as a tax, spend and borrow politician,” he said announcing his candidacy last month. This past weekend there was a high-powered campaign luncheon for Mr. Altschuler in Sagaponack.

But guess who is coming to dinner again? George Demos, now of Ronkonkoma, intends to return to the lst C.D. fray, best Mr. Atschuler and be the GOP candidate. .

Demos political advisor Rob Cole says: “Randy Altschuler couldn’t win in a year Republicans couldn’t lose, He’s simply unelectable.” We’ll see—and we’ll also see a flood of Altschuler TV commercials and near-endless campaign signs, with high-priced Congressional politicking having come to Suffolk.

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9 Responses to “CD 1 Redux”

  1. skd817 says:

    Mr. Altschuler had his chance, and couldn’t deliver in the greatest Republican year in a century. It’s delusional for him, in my opinion, to try again. If he couldn’t win then, he can’t win now. The fact that he outsourced jobs to places like India and Pakistan will absolutely sink him.

  2. Islandersfan says:

    I agree! Also in a time where unemployment is so high, do we trust Altschuler to keep our jobs local?? I don’t! This article is right. Altschuler was one of the only Republicans who couldn’t get elected in a year where a ton of others did! Enough already with him. I want a local guy who will put my and other Islanders’ interests first.

  3. Patrick says:

    One should ask how slow does week have to be to consider this news. What would moticate article’s author to want to keep this in readers’ mins? So much intelectual dishonesty. So much is made outsourcing, but no critics understood difference between sending jobs elsewhere and just receiving jobs with pre-existing employees. No one calculated jobs saved by reducing overhead in companies. I thought capitalism was supposed to be admired. What about Mr. Bishops voting record? One man appears to outsource handful of jobs but we are to ignore thousands pressured to be outsourced by legislation passed by Bishop’s votes. Andhow long must one live here? Big deal is made of current address and last one before moving here, but temporary residence in between was ignored. Finally, I’ll give comments above benefit of doubt, but these guys should receive paychecks from Bishop. Having shook Mr. Demos hand and spoke with him, one should be struck by hypocrisy of another primary run. After all, in a race Dems considered a must-win, Bishop only won by combined results of his best 2 districts after recycling much of Cox & Demos campaigns. If either ran, I’d run against them even if it meant being spoiler receing 1% of votes. If one honestly wanted Bishop out of office, Randy Altschuler deserves second chance considering how weel he did under such adverse conditions. Give him one more chance.

  4. Islandersfan says:

    I’m one who honestly wants Bishop out of office, but a second chance for Altschuler? What for? So he can vote exactly as Bishop would? Altschuler just said he’d “grudgingly support” the debt ceiling compromise!

    If he’s saying that he would vote exactly the same way Bishop voted, what’s the point in electing him? There’s no difference between Altschuler and Bishop!

    Bishop criticizes Altschuler ( )

    and then Altschuler, who pretends to be Conservative, admits that he’d vote the same way Bishop did!

    Who wants a Republican representative that will agree with the Democrat rep? No wonder he’s unelectable!

    Give it up, Randy….you’re full of hot air. Your web site says you’re so conservative, but when it comes down to it, you simply cave and show what little you’re made of.

  5. Maureen says:

    What a biased, intellectually dishonest article. The author has no qualms discussing perceived residency issues with other candidates, but conveniently forgets to mention that Demos rents a tiny apartment two blocks away from the Ronkonkoma train station so he can commute into the district from Manhattan, where he really lives.

    What about the fact that Demos is being investigates for outing a whistleblower at JP Morgan (check his Wikipedia page)?

    What about the fact that Demos ran the dirtiest campaign in Suffolk history last year, doctoring images of candidates for his mailers and telling outright lies about their policy platforms?

    What about the fact that Demos has never worked in the private sector, and has essentially been unemployed since losing the primary last year. His campaign slogan should be, “Vote for Demos, He Needs the Job!”

  6. Jonathan says:

    This is just precious; and what makes it so is the clear, intentional bias the author carries throughout the piece. But since we’re back to the mud-slinging that Demos likes oh so much (how many of you remember last year’s primary process?), let’s talk a little about George himself!

    He’s a weasel, to put it simply. His employment at the SEC was terminated for various reasons, least of which were unprofessional conduct and dereliction of duty. When an SEC lawyer goes out of his way to sabotage established laws and practices, and protects banks from their illegal activities, well – let’s say there’s a matter of integrity to be investigated here. Can we actually trust anything Demos says or does?

    George’s behavior in the past election cycle speaks to his lack of integrity – when the going gets tough, George kicks and screams like a child, flailing out at everybody around him. George’s campaign revolved around burying his opponents in slander and lies, all the while he never focused on the true goal: kicking Bishop out of office and replacing him with a common-sense, fiscal and social conservative. What’s more, George even went after his own people – I have first-hand accounts from his own former staffers as to the treatment they received on his campaign. Needless to say, not many of those staffers remained with the campaign for the duration; I couldn’t imagine being able to salvage my own conscience if I stood by George as he ran a burn-and-pillage operation against anybody and everybody that stood in his way.

    Let’s be honest – Demos isn’t in the race for anybody other than himself. The entire Republican establishment and all our allies on the right, including the Tea Party, know that George is just another self-centered and selfish child. His platform can’t win a Congressional race in NY-1 but instead of working with the party to find a position suitable to a man of his ability, all he wants is to steal the show. And if he keeps up his lying and two-faced nature – the only person who will steal anything is Bishop as he steals the election.

  7. John DeMarle says:

    The author uses a feigned “news” story about the reentry of George Demos into the Republican contest for the 1st CD as a Trojan Horse for his obvious support of Bishop. Altschuler’s outsourcing skills enabled companies he served, faced with intense global competition, to maintain viable businesses with core American worker employment on US soil. If his outsourcing activity is really that repugnant then those voters revulsed by it must match it with a personal committment to “buy American” or sleep uneasily with their hypocracy.

  8. raymond says:

    Please, Mr. Grossman, don’t give George Demos any more of a platform than he already has. He is nothing more than a mere distraction before the real election. Mr. Demos has ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of defeating Randy Altschuler in a primary. Demos didn’t even come close to Altschuler in the last primary, despite his vicious mud-slinging and repeated blatant lies about the man. George Demos actually supported Altschuler in the last general election! Demos doesn’t even have the support of the Suffolk County Republican, Conservative, Tea Party, Independent or Democratic parties. For Demos to even think of running again defies logic…unless he’s been promised another comfy future government job created by Bishop himself! I sure hope Altschuler wins, he’s head and shoulders above both Demos and Bishop! Apples and Oranges, my friend!

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