George Demos, a Republican from Ronkonkoma who had been battling Randy Altschuler for the right to face Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, announced on Friday afternoon that he is withdrawing from the race to focus on his wedding.
Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Demos were going to face off in a primary next month. Instead, his decision clears the way for a rematch between Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Bishop.
In a statement released by his campaign, Mr. Demos said preparations for his wedding to Chrysa Tsakopoulos this Saturday took precedence over his political aspirations.
“Everyone who knows me knows of my deep commitment to public service and to being a strong voice for the Conservative cause,” Mr. Demos wrote. “Equally, everyone who knows Chrysa and me, knows of our deep commitment to each other and the joy we are sharing in preparation for our wedding a week from now. These two facts have now come together. Both my impending marriage and my race for Congress are deeply important to me. But our marriage comes first. Therefore, today, I am going to set aside my political aspirations for a while so that I can focus on our family. Both Chrysa and I look forward to reentering the political debate in the near future and to fighting for the Conservative Republican values we share.”
Mr. Altschuler sent his wishes to Mr. Demos and Ms. Tsakopoulos, and pointed out that both men wanted Mr. Bishop out of Washington.
“While George and I have competed fiercely at times for the Republican nomination, both in 2010 and this year, we share a common goal—and that is defeating Obama rubberstamp, incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop, and bringing an end to his job-killing agenda that has badly hurt the people of Suffolk County,” he said in a statement.
The Bishop campaign also responded this week and criticized Mr. Altschuler for not locating his business, CloudBlue, in Suffolk County.
“The congressman and Mr. Demos disagree on nearly everything,” said Robert Pierce, the Bishop campaign’s communications director, in an email. “The one thing they don’t disagree on is outsourcer Randy Altschuler’s lack of credibility with Suffolk County voters. Randy Altschuler has so little regard for Suffolk County that he refused to even consider bringing his own company here, even though the company has over 40 locations throughout the world. That’s why he lost in 2010, that’s why he’ll lose again this November.”
Diana Weir, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign manager, said she believes Mr. Demos backed out after the results of a recent poll he commissioned. “I guess the results of the poll showed that he really didn’t have a chance,” said Ms. Weir. “The numbers are horrible. So I guess he figured why be embarrassed, bow out and concentrate on my wedding in June.”
Because there won’t be a primary election anymore, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign will be able to save money it would have normally spent in advertising, and divert campaign funds toward the general election, she said.
“We are thrilled,” she said. “Beyond thrilled.”