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Bishop, Altschuler close in fundraising

At left, Randy Altschuler attends a Veterans Day

At left, Randy Altschuler attends a Veterans Day ceremony in Smithtown. At right, Rep. Tim Bishop attends a rally at Stony Brook University. (Nov. 11, 2010, and Oct. 27, 2010) Photo Credit: James Carbone

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican challenger, Randy Altschuler, are running neck-and-neck in campaign fundraising in their rematch.

For the third-straight filing period, Altschuler raised more money than Bishop -- just barely, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The St. James businessman, who lost to Bishop in 2010 by 593 votes, reported $245,324 in contributions between April 1 and June 6, compared with Bishop's $227,483.

That gives Altschuler a slight fundraising lead this election cycle: $1.7 million to $1.66 million. Bishop, however, spent less in recent months, and has more cash on hand: $1.37 million to Altschuler's $759,248. Bishop also began the fundraising cycle with more cash than Altschuler.

Diana Weir, Altschuler's campaign manager, said his recent fundraising should be viewed in a larger picture of developments that includes Altschuler receiving the Independence Party endorsement Bishop received last time around.

In 2010, Bishop got 7,370 votes on the Independence line.

"I think it's pretty clear who has the momentum in New York's 1st Congressional District," Weir said of Altschuler.

But Bishop spokesman Robert Pierce said Altschuler still draws a good portion of his support from outside the district.

"His pals on Wall Street will keep footing the bill . . . so they can have another surrogate in Congress," he said.

Both candidates have ramped up attacks on each other in recent weeks, after Altschuler's Republican primary opponent, attorney George Demos, ended his campaign. Demos remains on the June 26 primary ballot.

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