In 2010, Republican Randy Altschuler lost by 692 votes to Democrat Tim Bishop, the incumbent Congressman representing New York's first congressional district that covers Suffolk County – the eastern end of Long Island. Altschuler said then that Bishop was a part of the problem in Washington and Bishop, the Democrat, proved him to be right.
In 2012, Bishop got caught soliciting campaign donations from a constituent in what seems to be a classic pay-to-play scheme in which Bishop received $10,000 in campaign contributions for helping the constituent obtain a fireworks permit.
Even the “nonpartisan” Citizens for the Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an organization that has been harsher on Republican than Democrats, has tagged Bishop as one of the “most corrupt” members of Congress for his pay-to-play tactics. Newspapers are calling on Bishop to be investigated, because he helped a constituent obtain permits to hold a fireworks show while suggesting he donate $10,000 to Bishop for the favor.
Outside groups have run ads against Bishop accusing him of abusing his power, and Altschuler has run a commercial accusing Bishop of trying to cover up the scandal and being “everything that is wrong with Washington.”
“There are no good guys right now in Washington,” Altschuler, the Republican, said at a debate this month. “You’ve got a problem with both parties. They’ve created the mess we’ve got right now. And that’s why, frankly, I want to replace one of the people who’s helped create that mess.”
These attacks are sticking, for polls show Altschuler with a slight lead over Bishop going into the home stretch, even though Bishop has outspent him by a three-to-one margin.
Since Bishop has been in Congress, he has voted for over a trillion dollars in higher taxes, billions of dollars in wasteful spending, and to increase the debt limit while 45,000 people on Long Island have experienced unemployment.
Altschuler is running on his business experience at a time when the economy is the top priority among nearly all voters.
Altschuler’s grandparents immigrated to New York from Poland after the World War I. He graduated from New York City’s public schools and then went on to Princeton University, working his way through college. He also received an MBA from Harvard.
After receiving his degrees, Altschuler put them to use. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Cloudblue, which he co-founded. The company has “has sixteen facilities across the country and has created over 400 American jobs” while being a “leading provider of recycling services for electronic equipment, including computers, servers, printers and smart phones.”
Prior to CloudBlue, Altschuler co-founded and was CEO of OfficeTiger, “a company dedicated to upgrading business support services and bolstering the job market,” which, under Altschuler, “created over 4,000 jobs in the United States and around the globe prior to its acquisition by RR Donnelley in April of 2006.” The business started in a one-bedroom apartment.
Altschuler was also “selected by Institutional Investor as one of the top influencers in the finance industry and was named a winner in the New York Top Ten Awards by the Executive Council of New York” and is a member of the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce and “an active participant with New Yorkers for Growth.”
He is married to Cheryl Altschuler, a practicing pediatrician in Shirley and Port Jefferson -- they reside in St. James with their young son Noah and newborn daughter Sasha.
This rematch will be one of the more closely-watched races down the stretch and on election day.