Rep. Tim Bishop (D NY-1) has held down a tough seat for the Democrats since taking it over from the GOP in 2002. Bush won this Eastern Long Island district by 2,000 votes in 2004, and Obama won it by four points in 2008, but signs are not good for four-term incumbent Bishop.
A recent poll commissioned by potential GOP challenger Randy Altschuler shows Bishop at 46% to his 26%. Even though Obama took 52% and the district has a PVI+1, Republicans lead in a generic ballot 38%-34%.
Altschuler is on the GOP’s “young guns” list; Bishop is one of the “suburban Democrats” these guns are targeting this year. Bishop will attack Altschuler as an “outsourcing pioneer” who sent jobs out of the country. The Long Island businessman is a self-funder who has outraised Bishop, reporting $659K in the third quarter. He contributed $450,000 of his own money, and he’s already up on the air with ads.
But Altschuler isn’t the only Republican to emerge to challenge Bishop, who apparently see him as a ripe target. George Demos, one of the SEC attorneys who worked on the Bernie Maddoff case, is claiming to have $275K cash on hand at the end of the 4th quarter.
Bishop is already worried, and recently made a plea in a letter to supporters:
I need a minimum of $3 million to run this race aggressively. I need my natural allies to step up the pace and the amount of their primary and general election campaign contributions this time. I know my district and I know what’s coming.”
When Mike Stark spoke to Bishop earlier this year, he asked him if he’d pledge to vote against any bill that doesn’t have a public option. Bishop replied, “I am not going to take a pledge because I want to see how the final legislation comes out.” Mike pointed out that the right-to-lifers had pledged to vote against any bill over the abortion language, but that public option supporters like Bishop didn’t seem to feel that strongly.
Bishop voted for the House bill on the first vote. If he votes for the Senate bill, he’ll kowtow to those like Stupak and Nelson who did draw a line in the sand over abortion, piss off the tea party activists and abandon his own principles on the public option. Hard to know who the constituency is for that.
Bishop has taken $287K from the health care sector, and $72K from pro-choice advocate groups and $1 million from unions.
Bishop’s office is (631) 696-6500. Ask him if he’s really planning on voting for a mandate that will force people to pay almost as much to private insurance companies as they do in federal taxes, with the IRS acting as a collection agency — and no public plan as an alternative.
No public plan? No mandate.
Let us know what you hear from Bishop’s office on the reporting form in the war room. You can now see call reports people are submitting after their calls for all House offices as they appear, which is pretty interesting.