GOPer Coming to Freshman Orientation Even Though He’s Not Yet Winner

Posted November 11, 2010 at 1:31pm

The resolution of his contest may be two weeks away, but New York 1st district Republican Randy Altschuler plans to attend next week’s new Member orientation on Capitol Hill along with a handful of other candidates in outstanding races.

The Altschuler campaign announced his plans Thursday afternoon, when he still clung to a 383-vote lead over Rep. Tim Bishop (D) and absentee ballots had yet to be counted, according to Jesse Garcia of the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

“We’re required to certify the results by Nov. 24,” Garcia said. “We’re probably going to use every bit of that time.”

The county will begin counting absentee and affidavit ballots — Garcia said there are more than 11,000 combined — next week. And even after those are counted, a judge could force a full hand recount of all 185,000 votes cast.

Attorneys for both sides privately argued the merits of a full recount earlier in the week in front of a Suffolk County Supreme Court justice. It’s unclear when a ruling will emerge.

“For the voters’ sake, we hope we’ll be able to meet the Nov. 24 deadline,” Garcia said when asked about the impact of a hand recount on the timeline.

The county has never conducted such a recount, according to Garcia.

It’s not the strangest thing for Altschuler to show up in Washington. The potential winners from several uncalled races also will attend. Republican Joe Walsh, who leads Rep. Melissa Bean (D) by 347 votes as of Tuesday, will be there. So will Republican Blake Farenthold, whose race with Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D) is headed to a manual recount.