National Democratic and Republican leaders are predicting a fierce battle for the New York 1st Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives and have moved Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop and Republican-hopeful Randy Altschuler to the top of their fundraising priority lists.
On May 10, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign announced that the candidate, who lost to Mr. Bishop by a mere 600 votes in 2010, is among 12 Republican candidates across the country to have achieved “full-fledged ‘Young Gun’ status.” The Young Guns program, created during the 2007-08 election cycle by Republican U.S. Representative and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Representative Paul Ryan— and backed by the National Republican Campaign Committee— lends fundraising support to candidates who demonstrate a level of success by meeting certain benchmarks within their campaigns, said Diana Weir, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign manager.
“That’s very important because that top tier gets the most support— whether it’s financial support, or whatever they decide they’re going to do with the funding they get,” said Ms. Weir. “It’s a big deal. Everybody wants it. We were very, very pleased to get that.”
The race hasn’t gone unnoticed by Democrats either. Last year, Mr. Bishop was named a “Frontline Democrat” by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee— one of 17 Democrats in the country to receive that distinction. It was Mr. Bishop’s first time getting that label since he was elected to office in 2002. The Frontline Program bolsters candidates in tough races by providing additional fundraising support and closer coordination with the national campaign committee, with the overall goal to win back the majority in the House of Representatives, said Oliver Longwell, a spokesman for Mr. Bishop.
“It’s an acknowledgment of the reality that Tim had a competitive race last time and was able to prevail in the most challenging environment in the generation for Democrats, and that he’s running against an outsourcing millionaire who we anticipate will use his own fortune and special interests’ support,” said Mr. Longwell. “It’s helpful to have support from the national campaign committee to get our message out for what Tim’s doing to fight for the middle class.”
The 2010 race had a hefty price tag of nearly $7.7 million spent between Mr. Bishop and Mr. Altschuler, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group that tracks money in U.S. politics.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already spent $9,000 in support of Mr. Bishop in this year’s race, according to the center. That’s compared to a total of only $379 spent by the national campaign committee in 2010. Also, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s website, Mr. Bishop appears to have raised $2,096 from eight contributors through the Frontline Program.
So far, Mr. Bishop has outraised and outspent Mr. Altschuler, according to quarterly finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission in April, which covers the period spanning January 1 to March 31. In total, Mr. Bishop has raised $1,433,029 and spent $503,802. Mr. Altschuler has raised $1,044,859 and spent $278,788 during this election cycle.
Although Mr. Bishop is leading the fundraising race, Mr. Altschuler actually raised more money during the most recent campaign filing period. In total, Mr. Altschuler raised $311,328 from January 1 to March 31, compared to Mr. Bishop’s $261,334.
Most of Mr. Bishop’s donors come from the retired community, while most of Mr. Altschuler’s money comes from the securities and investments industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, In total, retirees have so far donated a total of $102,100 to Mr. Bishop during the election cycle. The securities and investment community has donated $287,738 to Mr. Altschuler’s campaign. That trend is a similar one from 2010— most of Mr. Altschuler’s campaign contributions two years ago came from the securities and investment industry, a total of $370,298, while most of Mr. Bishop’s contributions, a total of $192,875, came from the retired community.
But at the same time, the retired community is the second highest donor to Mr. Altschuler’s campaign thus far, contributing $75,250, and the securities and investment industry is Mr. Bishop’s fourth highest contributor, funneling $56,100 into his campaign. Mr. Bishop’s top contributor is Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund management company based in East Setauket, which has donated a total of $27,500 during this election cycle so far. The largest contributor to Mr. Altschuler’s campaign is the investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs, which donated $28,438.