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Campaign Notebook: Debates Continue on, Super PACs Draw Attention

Catch up on headlines from the campaign trail over the past week.

The barrage of outside spending in the race for New York's First Congressional District topped $3 million this week with less than two weeks to go until Election Day, as candidates continued their dizzying schedules around eastern Suffolk County seeking votes.

Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, and Randy Altschuler, R-St. James, were just two of a handful on hand Friday at a Mattituck meet the candidates event.

Both Bishop and Atlschuler cited problems with federal spending as the biggest threat to the area, though each took a different angle at looking for part of a resolution.

Said Altschuler, "No one should get paid in congress until we pass a budget, and we have not made any progress. Obamacare is just adding to costs. When we can’t afford what we have already, more costs and mandates are not going to work.”

Bishop – who was supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Hauppauge on Friday – said, "The federal deficit is unsustainable, and to reign it in, we must do it in a balanced way ... To think that we can get this done exclusively on cutting spending is not only wishing thinking — it’s hurtful thinking and will inflict an enormous amount of pain on many in this country."

Newsday reported on Monday that outside spending, which includes super PACs, congressional campaign committees and other groups, is on its way to more than triple the $1.08 million spent in their 2010 race by groups from outside the region.

In the state Senate race, candidates debated several topics Monday night in East Hampton, though differences between the two were most evident on their views about the role of super PACs in elections.

  • Read: Numbers show LaValle with lead in fundraising race. 

Incumbent state Sen. Ken LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, said that it would not be wise to pick and choose which Supreme Court rulings – such as the one that has permitted super PACs – to overturn.

LaValle, running for his 19th term in Albany, stated that, "I think our system of government is put together in a way that a Supreme Court decision is a Supreme Court decision," something challenger Bridget Fleming, D-Noyac, said she "disagree[s] 100 percent with."

"It squashes good legitimate contenders who have good fresh ideas for good government, and something absolutely must be done about it," she said.

Tuesday night, candidates for New York's Fourth Assembly District, incumbent Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, and challenger Deborah McKee, R-Mt. Sinai, met at Comsewogue Library to discuss their differences. The two spoke about crime, treatment of local veterans, Route 347 expansion and Stony Brook University.

Read what they had to say here.

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