Three Newcomers Wage GOP Dogfight in Suffolk County

By Greg Cergol
|  Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010  |  Updated 9:45 PM EDT
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Three Newcomers Wage GOP Dogfight in Suffolk County

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Randy Altschuler shook hands with seniors.  Chris Cox attended a 9/11 ceremony. And George Demos worked his cell phone in between campaign stops.

With just days to go before next week's primary, the three candidates for Congress spared little time working to win votes.

They are political newcomers- all in their thirties, delivering their message with unwavering passion and resolve.  The three are seeking the Republican nomination in Suffolk county's huge first congressional district, which spans Riverhead, Brookhaven, Shelter Island, Southampton, East Hampton and Southold.

And the campaign is getting ugly.

"One of my opponents is a country club, blue blood Republican and the other outsourced American jobs to India," claimed Demos, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

And that's just the beginning.

On television and the Internet, one Cox ad screams that Altschuler, a millionaire entrepreneur, has never voted in the first Congressional district and, in fact, first tried to run for Congress in New Jersey.

An Altschuler ad countered that Cox, the grandson of former president Richard Nixon, lives in New York City and has only been staying at an uncle's Hamptons mansion as he campaigns.

"I am the only hometown candidate who lives here and is raising a family here," said Altschuler, 39, of St. James.

"My family has lived in the district for 160 years," responded Cox, 31, of Westhampton Beach.

"I am the only lifelong resident of this district," added Demos, 33 of Ronkonkoma.

The biographical battle seems the major point of difference among the three, who all claim to be fiscal conservatives interested in creating jobs, changing the culture of Washington and ousting four term incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop.

Will the negative campaigning hurt the winner of next week's primary?  The candidates insisted it will not. 

"The winner of this primary will be the next congressman from this district," said Cox. 

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