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1st C.D.: Is Randy Altschuler campaigning for 2012 already? (Updated)
Randy Altschuler, trailing Rep. Tim Bishop in the 1st Congressional District count by about 270 votes (the campaigns differ on the exact number and the Board of Elections isn't putting out a figure until this mess is over), late last week released two curious e-mails bashing Bishop (D-Southampton) for voting to extend the Bush tax cut only for incomes less than $250,000.
One headline screamed: "BISHOP SHOULD VOTE TO STOP TAX INCREASE
The Voters Sent Election Day Message -- Did Bishop Listen??"
The other shouted: "RAISING TAXES & KILLING JOBS
Tim Bishop and Lame-Duck Dems Didn't Listen to the Voters"
The texts were typically campaigny, making the Republican arguments about how tax cuts are necessary to jump-start the economy, how the wealthy are the job-creators, etc., etc. These were the first communications from Altschuler, who federal campaign finance records show spent $2.8 million of his own money on the race, since the election, that didn't focus on the state of his race.
So we called Altschuler spokesman Rob Ryan to ask if it marked the first salvo of a 2012 rematch.
"Obviously, this election isn’t over," Ryan said. "And Randy is speaking out and will continue in the future to speak out about issues that are important to the voters of the 1st Congressional District."
So why now weigh in on day-to-day congressional policy issues after a month of radio silence on them?
"Congress wasn’t in session," Ryan said.
Puh-leese. Is Altschuler planning a 2012 run?
"He's going to be running in two years because he's going to a congressman running for re-election," Ryan said.
We called Bishop's team to see what they think about this but have yet to hear back from them.
(Update 4:15 p.m.) Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider, not acknowledging that Altschuler is a candidate for anything, said the St. James Republican "should expect a constituent response letter" responding to his concerns.
"He is a constituent who has expressed opinions on a legislative matter and we prefer to deal with our constituents in writing," Schneider said.