Most average voters and casual observers of modern American politics thought the elections ended on Nov. 2. But, the 2010 political calendar did not end until Dec. 8, as the last of a handful of contested House races was decided by the concession of a Republican opponent in New York’s 1st Congressional district.
It’s a bittersweet and low-key victory for House Democrats as they gear up for an official GOP takeover of the lower Congressional chamber on Jan. 5.
Democratic candidate and incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop (D) defeated Republican challenger Randy Altschuler after a contentious House race that left the margin of difference at 263 votes out of nearly 200,000 cast. The Long Island district found itself among a list of nearly a dozen undecided House races on Election Night, with Altschuler refusing to give up as issues arose concerning absentee ballot discrepancies.
Altschuler argued in his concession statement that his campaign “uncovered numerous instances of absentee ballots that may have been unlawfully cast.” Still, the Republican ultimately bowed out, referring to the number of contested ballots as “too small to alter the outcome of the election.”
“After consulting with my family and campaign staff, I am ending my campaign and offering congratulations to Congressman Tim Bishop on his victory,” Altschuler said. “Although Newsday, The New York Times and the Bishop campaign have all called for a hand recount of all the ballots cast on Election Day, I will not support such an action as I feel its cost will place an unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk County.”
The concession guarantees a firm and final gain of 63 seats for House Republicans as they enter 2011 emboldened by election mandate and a Democratic caucus rebelling against its own White House. As for Bishop, he now gets a fourth term as Congressman of the 1st district, a jurisdiction that covers the very middle class communities of eastern and central Suffolk County.
Bishop, age 60, is a professional college administrator.
In another development, Wikipedia asserts that Bishop, who is White, is “an initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity,” a national African American fraternity based in Philadelphia. However, as of the filing of this story, Kappa Alpha Psi Executive Director Richard Lee Snow disputed the information when Politic365.com called to verify it.
“If he’s an incumbent, I would know. He’s not a member,” said Snow.
Bishop’s Press Secretary Oliver Longwell, did verify that the information on Wikipedia is false and that steps will be taken to delete it from the site.
“We don’t know how that got on there, but we think the person who posted it meant Sanford Bishop,” Longwell said, referring to the Black Congressman from Georgia who narrowly won his race in a late night nail biter on Nov. 2.