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Jan 26, 2010 6:28 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Bishop girding for fall fight

Jan 26, 2010 6:28 PM

In the wake of the upset victory by the Republican candidate in the race to fill the seat in the U.S. Senate formerly occupied by the late Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, political watchers are drafting lists of congressional and Senate seats held by Democrats that might also be vulnerable to an invigorated GOP.

At the top of many of those lists is the 1st Congressional District of New York, held by U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton.

That’s not news to Mr. Bishop.

Since winning his seat from one-term Republican Congressman Felix Grucci in 2002, Mr. Bishop has not faced a formidable challenge. But with Republicans desperate to chip away at the Democrats’ broad majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives, and smelling blood from the tumultuous health care debate, Mr. Bishop says he knew he would be in the sights of the national party bosses.

“I knew they were coming after me long before the Massachusetts race,” Mr. Bishop said this week. “They have formulas that they look at. They look at our voter registration and see 35,000 more Republicans than Democrats in this district. They look for districts that were carried by President Bush in 2004 that are represented by a Democrat, and they look for districts where President Obama performed below national or state averages in 2008.” President Obama captured 63 percent of the popular vote statewide in 2008, but in the 1st District he won just 52 percent of the vote, according to a tally by the website Swing State Project.

Mr. Bishop added, “Yes, I’m on their radar.”

Girding himself for the coming fight against a still unknown challenger, the former Southampton College provost says he plans to approach the race with a simple mission: do his job. Last weekend Mr. Bishop had meetings with individual constituents scheduled every 10 minutes throughout the afternoons. He is championing legislation and policies that hit home, like steering federal disaster funding to coastal communities damaged by the fall storms and lobbying his peers for health reforms that could save New York $5 billion in Medicaid bills.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can to stay connected to all of my constituents,” he said. “And I’m confident that if I do my job as well as I can, the people of the First Congressional District will continue to support me as they have in the past.”

With the first real campaign skirmishes still likely months away, Mr. Bishop fired a warning shot of sorts this week in the form of letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi demanding that the House not adopt some key provisions of the Senate health care bill when the two houses of Congress begin conferencing to merge their respective legislation. Certain provisions, namely the tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance packages, will unfairly hit many Long Islanders, Mr. Bishop said, and others, like changes to the Medicaid reimbursement system could cost New Yorkers, as a whole, billions.

The Senate bill’s provisions on Medicaid reimbursement would actually make fewer New Yorkers eligible for reimbursement from the federal program, and could cost the state an estimated $1 billion in additional coverage. Whereas the House bill’s more liberal Medicaid qualifications would mean the state would be eligible for as much as $4 billion in Medicaid reimbursements from the program.

“That’s a $5 billion swing,” Mr. Bishop said. “I could not, in good conscience, vote for that.”

That the Republican Party would like to unseat him and will throw whatever resources it can into the effort to do so, is clear. What that will actually mean for the Republican challenger remains to be seen. Nationally, the Republican campaign committee is hamstrung somewhat by anemic fund-raising while they face a national Democratic juggernaut feeding off the unparalleled fund-raising bounty created by the Obama presidential campaign.

According to reports from national political news outlets this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee, a key funding source for Republican campaign financing, currently has barely more than half the cash on hand that their Democratic counterparts do.

“It remains to be seen what they can bring to the table in terms of resources,” Mr. Bishop said of the national support the Republican candidate can expect to get. “Clearly they’re trying to expand the field, as the Democrats did in 2006. But the national GOP has a serious resource deficit compared the national Democratic campaign.”

His growing seniority and involvement in key issues, the congressman said during a phone interview on Monday, makes him an important member of the Democratic caucus in the House and he expects to get strong support from the national campaign coffers as well.

While campaign funding will certainly play a large role in his and other races this fall, Mr. Bishop echoes what many political pundits have already trumpeted from the mountaintops: that jobs and the economy will be key factors in the race. He points to a survey of 50 top economists by USA Today this week that said consensus is that the stimulus package pushed through by Mr. Obama and the Democratic majorities likely saved the country from even greater depths of recession and steeper job losses.

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Congressman Bishop I think the people have had enough of you rubber stamping the Obama agenda. You are not and have not listened to your constituents and have dis-connected with them. I and many other do not want this proposed health care bill, cap and trade etc. The congress was excluded from the health care bill, its disgraceful that you were pushing this on the people. You can't buy this election with money you take from national campaign. Don't count on the people that have supported you in ...more
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 10:37 AM
2 members liked this comment
Congressman Bishop, I think the poeple of the First Congressional District are fortunate to have such a capable representative in Congress. You have listended to and connected with your constituents. I look forward to the healthy debate this fall and another term with you as our congressman. Keep up the good work.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 2:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
The "Mass" hysteria over the election of a Scott Brown has nothing to do with the President's "agenda" or "heatlh care" and anyone who says otherwise is being overwhelmed by right-wing media propaganda. The sentiment is anti-incumbent and Congressman Bishop and Democrats are not the only ones who might be victims, the Republican party is about as popular as swine flu.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 2:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
We will see in November.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 6:08 PM
The "mass hysteria" is being exhibited by the Democratic Party Bosses in Albany and Washington DC. That wasn't the Governorship of Virginia or New Jersey we're talking about. IT WAS TED KENNEDY'S SEAT!
By Terry (380), Southampton on Feb 2, 10 7:59 AM
Republican or Democrat, most Americans are moderates and I would imagine that candidates who are willing to fight the extremes of their parties will do well in November. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the push back on the health care issue.
By double standard (1506), quogue on Feb 3, 10 9:08 AM
Mr. Bishop,
I have personally experienced your lack of good judgement. There is absolutely no good reason for you to have been elected and there is absolutely no good reason for you to return for an additional term. I sincerely hope you lose.
By trickster6670 (1), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 3:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tim Bishop is an Independent Voice in Washington DC for all East Enders. I have known him for 20 years and have always been greeted with a smile and handshake. When he was elected to Congress nothing changed in him. The House seat in Congress did not change him. You can still approach him on the street or in the Deli and he always will stop to listen. Before any of you paint him with the broad brush approach him and speak with him or at least listen to what he has to say.

Tim you have ...more
By PBA (14), Southampton on Feb 1, 10 6:06 PM
The people of Southampton Town and the East End are fortunate to have a man of such high ideals, willing to work for the land of his birth. He knows the needs of the people better than anyone else that has been mentioned.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Feb 1, 10 7:42 PM
By snfork (6), ORIENT on Feb 1, 10 8:26 PM
Gee, what a task master... I guess as congressman he should stop dealing with world and national affairs, the economy, the health care issue, and maybe twenty or thirty other issues in Washington and instead learn the addresses of all the municipalities in his district, such as Amagansett, Aquebogue, Baiting Hollow, Bellport, Blue Point, Bridgehampton, Center Moriches, Centereach, Coram, Cutchogue, East Hampton, East Marion, East Moriches, East Patchogue, Farmingville, Greenport, Hampton Bays, Head ...more
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Feb 2, 10 12:56 AM
Half of the areas on your list aren’t incorporated villages at all. And a few aren’t even incorporated as fire districts.
By snfork (6), ORIENT on Feb 2, 10 7:29 AM
My point is that the 1st Congressional District is large, probably a thousand square miles. That you can't forgive him because he forgot where Greenport Village Hall is seems like a very strange measuring stick. For your area, by the way, Bishop secured $1,996,822 for a Coastal Conservation Program. Bishop secured funding for a local defense company, creating jobs in the area. Bishop secured $500,000 for Greenport's downtown revitalization program. And, for Greenport, he secured nearly $4 million ...more
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Feb 2, 10 9:31 AM
Hay PBA, for what it’s worth, I’ll smile and shake your hand also
By snfork (6), ORIENT on Feb 1, 10 8:29 PM
Ive met him and brought him my issue that the feds can help with. He seems sincere, understood my plight as well as the plight of others in similar situation in and around the town and seems willing to help. Frankly we (Southamptonites) needs as much representation as possible and the last thing we need is some westy in charge of federal funds, then we willl never see a dime!
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Feb 2, 10 6:33 AM
Sorry Mr. Bishop, but it's a little to little and a little too late!!
You've now decided to push back on the Health Care Bill that your pupetmaster Nancy Pelosi has tried to ram through against the wishes of most of the people in the country. You voted straight up for this abortion of a bill when it was put up in congress and lauded it as the saviour of our people and economy...
Too Late to try and backpedal now. I sincerely hope to replace not only you, but all incumbents who have and ...more
By JackC574 (21), Southampton on Feb 2, 10 6:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
Right on Jack!
By double standard (1506), quogue on Feb 3, 10 9:11 AM
Despite what others think, Scot Brown was definitely a vote against the Obummer, Pelosi, Reed agenda. Yes, Obummer was voted in by the majority, but the common sense portion has woken up. A self serving, egotistical, socialist agenda is not what the American people were promised or want. If Tim Bishop keeps rubber stamping the policies of this incompetent crew, then he has got to go.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Feb 2, 10 6:53 AM
I find it hard to support anyone who would allow an illegal to take work away from a hard working American .
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Feb 2, 10 6:54 AM
2 members liked this comment
It is not Tim Bishop who is "allowing" anything. Tim Bishop supports a real immigration reform package that, in addition to providing a path to citizenship for many who have lived her for years, includes steps like strengthening borders and punishing those who hire undocumented workers.

You anti-immigrant advocates scream and yell for change and then support the status quo republican solution which is to do nothing- but complain. If you were sincerely interested in dealing with this ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Feb 2, 10 8:58 AM
The only reform I've seen offered is amnesty. Sorry, that's not reform. It is however a complete sell out. Neither Repubs or Dems have anything to be proud of on this one. Let's be honest, politicians are way to chicken to do anything of any substance re. this issue. I assure you, this influx of illegal aliens is and will continue to harm the quality of life on the east end. Gangs, code violations, driving w/o license, and on and on we go. I'll probably be called a racist for posting this. I don't ...more
By double standard (1506), quogue on Feb 3, 10 9:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
doublestandard, Not a single person has offered Amnesty - not the president and not congress. You are being disingenuous and instead of focusing on the real facts of immigration reform legislation, you are spreading falsehoods. This teabag approach to political dialogue benefits neither side.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 10:01 AM
bishop is a fraud
By deKooning (106), southampton on Feb 2, 10 10:17 AM
well, maybe not
By deKooning (106), southampton on Feb 2, 10 10:19 AM
I will not vote for any imcumbant or anyone over the age of 60. Sorry I'm not prejudiced against older people but if anyone ever watches anything Congress or the Senate does you will realize that most of these people have been in office way to long. They are only interested in getting re-elected. They only care about getting enough people in ttheir districts to vote for them. They couldn't solve a national problem for anything. We so need term limits but since that would take an act of congress ...more
By rippedoffedtaxpayer (13), speonk on Feb 2, 10 11:00 AM
Enough with the social programs that are breaking all of us. Budget reform, term limits, end back room deals. These bleeding hearts need to start worrying about the ones actually footing the bills. Bye Mr. Bishop....you voted for a health care bill that did not bring tort reform, etc. without regard for what those who put you in office wanted you do not deserve our trust or vote.
By BeachGal (72), Hampton Bays on Feb 2, 10 2:41 PM
Tim Bishop supports tort reform.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Feb 2, 10 7:20 PM
than why isnt tort reform in the health bill that he approved that will cost new Yorkers 1.5 billion. Hes really looking out for us
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Feb 3, 10 10:44 AM
Mr Bishop is very lucky the election is not within the next month or he would get slaughtered. Based on our Presidents last state of the Union address it appears they will eat some humble pie and focus on what Americans really care about and that is jobs and debt. They are hoping this stratgy will turn the anti incumbancy mood. I for one think Bishop is awful. Whoever said he looks out for his contituents is crazy. Give me some examples where he voted against his party line. He is nothing more than ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Feb 3, 10 7:10 AM
Here's an idea for you Rep. Bishop: instead of worrying about getting re-elected again as soon as the last election is over. Do the job you are paid to do. Represent the people of the East End of Long Island, if not we will fire you and hire someone new.
By sayitaintsojoe (100), Westhampton on Feb 3, 10 11:00 AM
Bishop is a principled legislator who embodies the Democratic Party ideals, including National Health Care. He has also been assiduous in bringing home pork for the local boys.

If he loses, it will have nothing to do with his personal performance but rather with the electorate's profound dissatisfaction with a federal government that has rewarded criminally inept financial institutions with hundreds of billions of dollars at the same time that average Americans have lost trillions in equity ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Feb 3, 10 5:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hear him! The man speaks the truth.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Feb 5, 10 4:48 PM
It used to be a principled Democrat worked for the working people of his district. Tim Bishop never called me back when I called his office in Washington about the July and August closure of the Black Sea Bass fishery. Fishing, whether it is recreational or commercial is a huge industry in this district and he pays little or no interest to it's concerns.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Feb 3, 10 9:14 PM
We need a fresh start - term limits for all!
By RJH (5), westhampton on Feb 4, 10 7:06 AM
Mr. Bishop: Since you have failed to represent the majority of your constituents on the East End by blindly following the leftist agenda of the Demokrat Party, you wil not be re-elected to another term in Congress. Time to get out into the real world and get a job where you will be paid for actually doing something instead of feeding at the government trough, Adios!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 4, 10 9:31 AM
It is time for Bishop to go.
By Hillsnbells (43), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 10:13 AM
"Last weekend Mr. Bishop had meetings with individual constituents scheduled every 10 minutes," I wonder if any of those constituents AREN'T big time donors to his campaign war chest. The tone of this article suggests that he was discussing points of concern for the community, rather than how much they would be donating. I wonder if he would see me in a meeting to discuss some of my concerns for our area. (that was sarcasm)
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Feb 5, 10 1:33 AM
I found that Mr Bishop DOES listen to his constitiuents. He calls people back, holds town hall meetings and makes appearences. Unfortunately it goes in one ear and out the other and he is simply out there trying to SELL his parties agenda. He has no regard for his constiuents and always votes along party lines. The health care sell was embarrassing. He needs to go
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Feb 5, 10 10:18 AM
The Congress of the United States is "The Peoples House". I believe it's time to get this guest who doesn't represent the people and out of our house.
By JackC574 (21), Southampton on Feb 11, 10 4:47 PM