In Suffolk, all eyes on Bishop-Altschuler rematch

Congressman Tim Bishop shakes hands with opponent, congressional

Congressman Tim Bishop shakes hands with opponent, congressional candidate Randy Altschuler at the close of thier debate at the Riverhead Baptist Church. (Sept. 23, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/ Thomas A. Ferrara)

Suffolk County voters go to the polls Tuesday in hotly contested races for Congress, State Senate and Assembly.

Five-term Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) will square off with GOP businessman Randy Altschuler of St. James for the 1st Congressional District seat in the county's most closely watched race.

In 2010, Altschuler lost to Bishop by just 593 out of more than 200,000 votes cast. There are roughly 3,000 more registered Republican voters in the district than Democrats.

Countywide, there are 299,139 registered Republicans, 292,008 Democrats and 228,174 voters listing no party affiliation, according to the Suffolk Board of Elections.

In other races, President Barack Obama is expected to win New York and its 29 electoral votes, while polls show U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand with a significant lead over Republican opponent Wendy Long.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) faces GOP opponent Stephen Labate of Deer Park in the 3rd District, while Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), whose redrawn 2nd District is 75 percent in Suffolk, is running against Vivianne Falcone, a Democratic committeewoman and former teacher from West Islip.

Both major parties say they have high expectations for two open state legislative seats, one in the Senate and the other in the Assembly.

In the 4th Senate District, Assemb. Philip Boyle (R-Bay Shore) will face Suffolk Legis. Rick Montano (D-Brentwood) to replace Republican Sen. Owen Johnson, who is retiring.

In the 10th Assembly District, Republican Chad Lupinacci of Huntington Station will take on Democrat Joe Dujmic, also of Huntington Station, to succeed the late James Conte.

Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer also is eyeing Boyle's open Assembly seat in the 7th District. Democrat Christopher Bodkin of West Sayville will challenge Republican Andrew Garbarino of Sayville for the seat.

Suffolk County GOP chairman John Jay LaValle said he anticipates that Republican Deborah McKee of Mount Sinai will run competitively in a rematch of the 2010 race for the 4th Assembly District against veteran Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket).

But, LaValle concedes that Republicans are focused more on retaining their existing seats than on winning new ones.

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