Republican Concedes House Race to Democrat Bishop

Republican Randy Altschuler conceded defeat to four-term New York Democrat Tim Bishop in the race for the nation’s last disputed U.S. House seat.

With 977 absentee ballots left to be counted out of more than 194,000 votes cast in the 1st congressional district at the eastern end of Long Island, Altschuler’s campaign said today. Bishop held a 263-vote lead. Altschuler dropped his legal challenges to the remaining uncounted absentee ballots.

“After consulting with my family and campaign staff, I am ending my campaign and offering congratulations to Congressman Tim Bishop on his victory,” Altschuler said in an e-mailed statement. He said he would decline to pursue a hand recount of all ballots cast. “Its cost will place an unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk County,” he said.

Bishop called the race “a real lesson in civics” in a conference call with reporters today. “It truly makes the case that every vote counts.”

He said his efforts to work with Republicans to help his district won him the votes to “withstand a Category 5 hurricane leveled at Democratic incumbents” this year.

House Breakdown

Bishop’s win will give the Democrats 193 seats in the 435-seat House session that convenes in early January, while Republicans will have 242. Republicans had a net gain of 63 seats in November’s midterm elections to take control of the House.

New York’s House delegation will have 21 Democrats and eight Republicans. Before the election, the breakdown was 26 Democrats and two Republicans, with one seat vacant.

Altschuler, a businessman and former Wall Street banker, spent $4.2 million on his campaign through Nov. 22, including $78,000 after Election Day, according to federal records. He gave or loaned his campaign at least $3.6 million of his own money, the records show.

Bishop, a former college administrator, spent $2.5 million on his campaign, including $63,000 after Election Day. He neither gave nor loaned his own campaign any money.

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