Bishop wins nasty race with Manger
New York 1st Congressional District
(CNN) -- Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Bill Manger put the bitter in bitter end, as they sniped at each other in the race for the New York 1st District seat all the way to a Bishop victory.
Some of that bitterness derived from the aftertaste left in the GOP's mouth following the tightly contested 2002 race for the seat, in which Bishop defeated Republican freshman Rep. Felix Grucci by fewer than 3,000 votes. The GOP had controlled the seat the previous eight years.
Intent on avenging the 2002 defeat -- GOP leaders still claim Grucci lost it more than Bishop won it -- the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) invested heavily financially, buying cable TV ads in the district.
Manger, a former Southampton Village Board Member, showed fund-raising prowess and dipped into his own pocket, loaning his campaign more than $200,000.
Manger went on the offensive with ads that accused the Democratic freshman representative of driving Southampton College into bankruptcy while he was an administrator at the school, while NRCC ads attacked the incumbent for not supporting U.S. troops.
Bishop said he was saddened by the closing of the school, and called the Manger ad baseless. He also returned fire by running a TV ad featuring wounded Iraqi war veteran Lt. John Fernandez, a West Point graduate from Rocky Point, who lost his right leg below the knee and left foot in the Iraq war.
While neither candidate has strong roots in the district, Bishop portrayed himself as a hard-working moderate who is responsive to constituents and who has earned another term. He picked up the backing of environmental groups, as well as some unions that had backed Republican Grucci in 2002.
Blueblood newcomer Manger tried to use four years as a trustee in tiny Southampton village and 14 months of campaigning full-time to overcome being unknown to most voters. He also ran on the Conservative Party Line, and earned the support of some police unions.