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The Suffolk Independence Party is back to supporting Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).
The minor party endorsed Bishop late last week after the 12-year incumbent, Republican State Sen. Lee Zeldin and George Demos, a well-financed challenger, were screened by Independence officials at Oheka Castle.
The minor party, which has been strongly allied with State Senate Republicans, bypassed Zeldin, who is abandoning the GOP Senate majority for the congressional run even though his colleagues are only holding onto control with backing of several dissident Democrats. Frank MacKay, state and Suffolk Independence Party chairman, called Bishop a “tireless champion for Long Island.”
The Independence Party backed Bishop in his first race against Zeldin in 2008 and his paper-thin 2010 win over millionaire businessman Randy Altschuler. The minor party switched to Altschuler two years ago, but it had no impact amid a heavy Democratic presidential turnout. The line was worth from 4,900 to 7,200 votes in the last two elections. Independence party officials will need a minimum of 1,124 signatures by early next month to get Bishop on the party ballot.