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Nov 5, 2008 4:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bishop cruises to fourth term

Nov 5, 2008 4:31 PM

Democratic incumbent U.S. Representative Tim Bishop was elected Tuesday to a fourth term in office, besting his Republican opponent, Lee Zeldin, as Democrats across the nation gained ground against Republicans in both the House and Senate.

Mr. Bishop defeated Mr. Zeldin by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Wednesday.

When the polls closed at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Zeldin and about 75 volunteers were taking in the election results at Mr. Zeldin’s campaign headquarters in Patchogue. At 11:09 p.m., Mr. Zeldin made a concession call to Mr. Bishop’s office. He left a voice message.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zeldin congratulated Mr. Bishop on his win. “I wish him the best of luck,” he said. “There is a lot at stake, and I hope he does a great job.”

His own campaign was encumbered by “a number of factors” including a downturn in the economy, Mr. Zeldin said. “Time was a factor, money was a factor, the presidential race was a factor,” he said. “There were people who wouldn’t vote for me because of my party affiliation. Some of those people ... wouldn’t vote Republican because they were angry about what’s been going on in the White House.”

At the Marriott Hotel in Islandia, where the Suffolk County Democratic Party was gathered, Mr. Bishop said the vote was a “solid affirmation” of his tenure in office. “I ran a race based on what I’ve done and what I’ll continue to do,” Mr. Bishop said.

Calling for change in Washington, Mr. Bishop said that his first task back in office will focus on the economy and work to “restore financial stability to the middle class.”

Nationwide, Democrats in the House of Representatives gained a total of 18 seats over Republicans, giving Democrats a majority of 252 to 173. In the U.S. Senate, Republicans conceded five seats, giving Democrats a majority of 56 to 41.

“This is a great night for Democrats,” Mr. Bishop said. “We now have the opportunity to emerge from eight of the most destructive years in our nation’s history. We have the opportunity to begin that long climb out of the deep hole we have inherited ... now we can begin to bring change to this county.”

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