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Jul 14, 2010 10:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Schneiderman forgoes congressional run

Jul 14, 2010 10:57 AM

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman announced last week that, after several months of consideration, he will not try to unseat U.S. Representative Tim Bishop.

Mr. Schneiderman, an Independent and former supervisor of East Hampton Town who hails from Montauk, revealed earlier this year that he was exploring the possibility of making his first run for Congress.

But last week, Mr. Schneiderman, 48, announced in an e-mail to media outlets that he would not seek federal office this year, saying that he would not want to spend time in Washington D.C. away from his two young children, Ruben, 7, and Magdalena, 11.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Schneiderman also said that a poll he commissioned in May showed that, while he has “strong support” in the 1st Congressional District, he would likely lose to Mr. Bishop in November.

“I don’t want to run and lose, and I don’t want to be a spoiler,” he said.

Mr. Bishop of Southampton, a Democrat, is seeking his fifth term in Congress. Challengers lining up for the Republican nomination include Chris Cox of Westhampton Beach, the grandson of Richard Nixon; former United States Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement attorney George Demos of Brookhaven; and businessman Randy Altschuler of St. James. They will likely face off in a primary in September.

Mr. Schneiderman said he probably would have run on the Independence Party line.

“One of the things I wanted to see was if an Independent could win—particularly one with a record,” he said.

In his statement last week, Mr. Schneiderman wrote: “Representing my region in Congress would be a great honor. I believe we need new voices, particularly independent ones—individuals who are not beholden to major parties or special interests. One of the great faults of our current system is that we are often forced to choose between two individuals, one from the far left and one from the far right.”

He said he paid a firm $4,200 in May to conduct a 28-question phone poll among residents of the 1st Congressional District, which spans from his hometown of Montauk to as far west as Stony Brook. About 400 registered voters responded, he said.

The results showed that, unless Mr. Schneiderman ran in a head-to-head race against Mr. Bishop, the incumbent would likely keep his seat, according to Mr. Schneiderman.

“My poll showed basically a neck-and-neck race right now, statistically a dead heat between Tim Bishop and myself, that was definitely breaking in my direction,” he said. “So I believe I would definitely prevail in a two-way race. But a two-way race was not going to happen.”

When told that Mr. Schneiderman would not challenge Mr. Bishop this year, Mr. Bishop’s campaign manager, Lisa Wieber, said only: “Thanks for letting us know.”

Mr. Schneiderman said his poll showed that in a three-way or four-way race, opposition to Mr. Bishop would be split and Mr. Bishop would likely win another term. However, if the race turns into a two-way heat between Mr. Bishop and a Republican, the incumbent could be in for the “fight of his life,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

A three-way race in November is still a possibility even after Mr. Schneiderman’s withdrawal, since Mr. Altschuler got the backing of the Suffolk County Conservative Party in April. On Wednesday, Rob Ryan, a spokesman for Mr. Altschuler, said that Mr. Altschuler is currently counting on uniting the Conservative and Republican parties behind him.

Mr. Schneiderman, who defected from the Republican Party in 2008, said that he did not seek the Republican endorsement because he was unlikely to win it.

“I’m too progressive in my social views that it would be difficult for me,” he said.

With Mr. Schneiderman’s announcement, the Independence Party of Suffolk County is left without a candidate for the time being. Chairman Frank MacKay said his party would be screening Mr. Bishop and the three Republican hopefuls this Friday with an announcement expected on Sunday.

Mr. Schneiderman has not endorsed a candidate yet, and said on Tuesday he would be meeting with Mr. Altschuler later this week, and other candidates in the future. He said will keep his current job as a Suffolk County Legislator representing the South Fork.

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He is not running because his advisers have discovered what most of us already knew and that is that he did not have a snowball's chance in _______
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jul 8, 10 2:02 PM
3 members liked this comment
Bozo the clown would be an upgrade from bishop. I personnaly would like to se Randy Altshuler but almost anybody would be an upgrade. Bishop sold out his district long ago.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jul 9, 10 11:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Jay should come back home and run for Town Supervisor. The last time East Hampton was well-run was when he was in charge.
By wilcymoore (2), westhampton on Jul 9, 10 3:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
He is right about one thing, and that is we do need " new voices, particularly independent ones—individuals who are not beholden to major parties or special interests."

That, my fellow Americans, is nothing short of a bonafide FACT.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 9, 10 8:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Jay should stay where he is. He is an advocate for the east end and we need that in the County Legislature. His influence as a Congressman would be diminished in terms of having a direct impact on the South Fork. That being said, Bishop has got to go. He is a narssicistic clown who thinks he can be a bully because he wears a pin on his lapel that gets him onto the floor of Congress. Once he is voted out he can become a baloon in the Thanksgiving Day parade becuase there is no reason to waste ...more
By formertbm (76), east hampton on Jul 10, 10 10:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
Tim's a nice guy, but an ineffectual congressman. He and his staff get the boilerplate work done, but he doesn't step out of his comfort zone. Don't look to him to stand up to the opposition party in congress. Jay has deep seated principles and the backbone to defend them. I wish he had run.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jul 10, 10 11:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Jay is a politician through and through. He lacks the principals, integrity and loyalty of Tim Bishop.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jul 10, 10 12:36 PM
Loyalty of Tim Bishop??? He voted time and time again against everything that made our nation stronge...and see what will happen to District one ---no longer a beautiful area for all to bring their families to and vacation...Thanks to Tim -the wealthiest and politically correct will live in harmony with a multitude of density and condo(for extreme rich) and slum apartment complexes (for illegal-poor -low cost labor force aka:His "affordable housing for the locals".
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Sep 6, 10 4:48 PM
Screw Tim Bishop, what loyality did he ever show. He did nothing for his constituents. He will be voted out in November.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jul 10, 10 11:03 PM
Here's reg rep weighing in with her usual grace, eloquence and spelling.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 12, 10 10:16 AM
Reg rep, your rants are convincing even those against Tim to vote for him. Appreciated.
By lablover (104), Southampton on Jul 12, 10 2:40 PM
Tim merely became that third violin that nobody actually plays, and sits on it's stand, but sounds off like the others when other violins play next to it.

There's a phrase for that, now, what was it...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 11, 10 7:17 PM
Jay - Say it ain't so....
Tim "you can't deport 12 million criminals" Bishop needs to go.....
By bird (829), Southampton on Jul 12, 10 12:06 AM
... Bishop is a lock.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Jul 12, 10 9:28 AM
You've got that right. Mr. Rodney. George Demos is an unknown, Chris Cox is an ill-prepared nonresident (until last year), and Randy Altschuler is an outsourcer, a man who made a fortune by shipping American jobs overseas.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 12, 10 10:19 AM
Tim Bishop deserves re-election. The 3 front-running strangers that are vying for the Republican line can't hold a candle to Tim Bishop. Somehow, I don't quite believe Jay Schneiderman's puffery about any poll he's done. Schneiderman's a phony. Last year it was sweetness & niceties when he needed the Democratic line. Now it's an extreme left wing party when he wants to extol his independence. Baloney Jay. You have as much consistency as a water balloon.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Jul 12, 10 3:24 PM
2 members liked this comment
Those who think Bishop has a shot in November keep dreaming. He's done!
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jul 12, 10 9:44 PM
Which one of the Republican giant-killers is going to knock him off, the outsourcer, the empty suit, or the unknown?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 13, 10 12:02 PM
Its to early in the game to say who will knock off Bishop. I can see from your comment you know its going to happen. Big changes will take place this November in the house and senate.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jul 13, 10 9:26 PM
Are you serious, reg rep? "I can see from your comment you know it's going to happen." You really think that's what I meant? Try looking up "irony" or "sarcasm" -- that'll give you a start.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jul 13, 10 10:23 PM
Are you for real? I think your getting senile. With negative comments like yours, your are running scared and know that bishops will lose in Nov.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jul 15, 10 9:31 PM